The petrol pumps in the Valley are once again running dry. The irritant is not hard to seek. It is the ubiquitous constraints in supply.
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) — the state-run sole petroleum supplier — has been hit hard by the diminishing stock of petrol.
"We haven’t been able to ferry the petroleum products from Amlekhgunj Depot in Bara due to the ongoing stir,” said Digambar Jha, managing director, NOC.
“If the current uncertainty persists in Chitwan, then the crisis is likely to deepen. We have stock for only two days,” he added.
The Valley requires 300 kilolitres (kl) of petrol daily. But, NOC’s storage capacity is only 2,630 kl, which is adequate for only eight days. The protest of Tharu community blocking the highways has entered into the eighth day today forcing the NOC to curtail the supply.
“Though the petrol stock is alarmingly low, there is no immediate cause for concern for Air Turbine Fuel (ATF), diesel and cooking gas," he said.
According to Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association (NPDA), NOC today managed to distribute petrol to only 10 institutional petrol pumps that belong to Nepali Army, Police and Sajha.
Altogether, there are 114 retail dealers in the Valley. While, the nationwide count stands at 2,403.
NOC boasts of a cumulative storage capacity of 71,742.3 kl of petroleum products, which last for 30 days. But, it can store 6,300 kl of diesel and kerosene each and 7,640 ATF in the capital.
Jha tried to put up brave front in the face of the looming crisis. He maintained that efforts were on to bring supplies via Tribhuvan Highway, the old route to the Valley.
Kathmandu had faced similar crisis on a number of occasions in the past. But, the government does not seem to believe in reality check.
The capital is completely dependent on supplies from outside — be it vegetables, edible items or petroleum products — thanks to its geographical location.
The prevailing bandh culture has contributed to spiralling rise of essential commodities’ price. The inflation is at 14.4 per cent. While, the central bank aims to keep it down to seven per cent.
Meanwhile, the western districts are also facing a shortage of petroleum products for the past four days due to the bandh. Many vehicles on both long-and short-routes have gone off the road following the shortage of petroleum products in the local depots of NOC, according to dealers.