Savings In Pipeline
The proposed Birgunj-Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline project was initially estimated to cost 4.4 billion rupees. The reviewed and updated cost of the project is expected to go still higher. This may appear a large cost for the 38-km pipeline but given the costs it saves in transporting petroleum products, its construction is very relevant and worthwhile. In the current rates of road transportation, the pipeline project is said to save around 700 million rupees in transportation costs annually. In the long run, this infrastructure is a billions saver in addition to helping ease traffic jams on roads, reducing road related risks and curtailing the evaporative loss of the precious liquid that occurs during its handling in tankers. The fact that the cost of the project keeps rising due to persistent inflation and the need to revising project details points to the need for constructing it as soon as possible. The longer the project lingers, the more costs we keep bearing in petroleum transportation. The faster we work, the earlier we start saving millions of rupees each month. There are rays of hope as it has been reported that the detailed engineering survey of the project has completed. According to an official of Nepal Oil Corporation, the construction of the project is expected to start in February next year which is only a few months away. As the NOC purchases all the petroleum products from the Indian Oil Corporation, Nepal and India are involved in the construction.
The SM Consultant of India conducted the detailed engineering survey of the project and the report of the survey has already been submitted to the IOC. The Nepali side is waiting to get the report so that works can go ahead after studying it. The two sides need to keep a close coordination and communication about the details of the project so that delays do not occur to start this project. It may be noted here that the project has already gone through a delay of ten months due to souring of Nepal-India relations last year due to the unofficial blockade imposed to Nepal by the southern neighbour. Project plans should be clear and unambiguous to the both sides to prevent possible hitches on the way. Now that the relations between the two neighbours have become normal with the recent exchange of high level visits, there is no reason to make further delays. There is a long held perception that Nepal-India joint projects tend to get delayed and falter. Such a notion and reality need to be changed with new modality and approach of working. That can happen when nothing is left for ambiguity, suspicion and foot dragging. Starting the construction of the project is already overdue agreement for which was inked back in August 2015. The IOC is expected to call a tender for the project soon and on its part, Nepal has to finalise land acquisition process. Encroachments are reported on the roadside of the project site. Such roadside structures need to be cleared in time so that works can go ahead smoothly.
Surya Nath Upadhyaya is a member of the Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) from Nepal’s side. The EPG has a two-year term, and it has already spent...