Oct 10, 2015- A day after Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) invited bids for supplying petroleum products to ease the ongoing fuel crisis, a total of 10 companies have expressed their initial interest.
NOC officials said 10 companies have enquired them regarding the bids. “Three companies contacted us on Thursday and seven others on Friday,” said an NOC source, adding that most of them are foreign firms.
According to the NOC, many of them are cargo companies while a few are related to petroleum business. “We hope we will receive official applications by Sunday, the final day of the bidding,” an official said. The state-owned oil monopoly has invited global tenders for the supply of petroleum products to Nepal from any country through any medium on a daily basis for at least 15 days.
With the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), with which the NOC has a 40-year business relation, restricting fuel supply to Nepal, the NOC was forced to look for options to ease distribution of fuel for the upcoming festive season when Kathmandu Valley sees a mass departure of people to their hometowns.
NOC Managing Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka said they decided to look for alternatives to the IOC in order to maintain smooth supply of fuel during the festive season. “The move is expected to manage short-term fuel supply targeting Dashain which is just round the corner,” Khadka told the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Friday.
The NOC has been distributing 50 kilolitres of petrol and 200 kilolitres of diesel on a daily basis while its stock is depleting due to the Indian blockade. “As an acute shortage has been seen mainly in the Valley, we are pressed to ease supplies here besides providing adequate fuel to long-route passenger vehicles,” he said.
During the PAC meeting, Revenue Secretary Rajan Khanal said the government was in talks with the Nepal Trans Himalaya Border Commerce Association on the feasibility of importing petroleum products via Rasuwagadhi on the Nepal-China border. “They have shown the possibility of importing fuel from Tibet overland,” Khanal added.
According to him, the Finance Ministry is also looking for a long-term solution to reduce excessive dependency on the Indian supplier.
During the meeting, lawmakers slammed the government for failing to resolve the fuel crisis. Though the PAC had invited Commerce Minister Sunil Bahadur Thapa, Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi, Finance Secretary Suman Pant and Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhyay to a meeting, none of them attended it.
Publsihed on: The Kathmandu Post (Oct 10,2015)