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Petroleum supply in eastern Nepal affected by software glitch in India’s online entry system

   June 6, 2019        188        RAJESH KHANAL

Petroleum supply in four districts of Eastern Nepal has been affected for over a week after the Indian authority failed to issue customs clearance, citing problems with their move to an online entry system.

According to Nepal Oil Corporation, the petroleum supply via Panitanki of India has been affected after the Indian authority held the tankers, citing the launch of an online entry system. “The Indian customs authority has informed that it has started the process of switching to the online system from the traditional system and is facing problems with the software,” said Sushil Bhattarai, executive director of the corporation.

Due to the obstruction, the petroleum supply mainly in four districts Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar and Taplejung has come to a halt. Bhattarai said the corporation is trying its best to maintain smooth fuel supply to the region from its depot in Biratnagar.

India reportedly started using the online entry system to keep a record of tankers crossing the Nepal-India border from May 24.

However, the customs authority has held the Nepali tankers citing a problem in the system. As a result, more than 100 fuel tankers are waiting to receive the go ahead from the Indian authority.

According to the state-owned oil monopoly, 100,000 litres of petrol and 300,000 litres of diesel are consumed on a daily basis in these districts. Nepal Oil Corporation officials said that the enterprise has already notified officials of the Indian Embassy about the issue and received assurances from embassy officials that the problem will be resolved soon. As per the corporation, Nepal uses the Panitanki-Kakadbhitta customs point to import petroleum products from the Siliguri-based depot of Indian Oil Corporation. On average, Nepal imports 50 tankers of fuel daily via the route.

Meanwhile, Nepal Oil Corporation has reduced the price of petrol by Rs1 per litre, to the effect from Wednesday midnight. With the revised price, petrol now costs Rs110 per litre. The corporation however has kept the price of kerosene, diesel, cooking gas and aviation fuel unchanged.

Binit Mani Upadhyaya, deputy director of the corporation, said they revised the price after receiving the reduced price lists from Indian Oil Corporation on Saturday. Earlier, the corporation had hiked the price of petrol, diesel and kerosene by Rs1.50 per litre each right after the budget announcement on May 29.

The Kathmandu Post