NOC completes 70% of pipeline laying work

By Laxman Kafle, Kathmandu, Jan.14: Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is expected to supply petroleum products to Amlekhgunj from Raxaul, India, through pipeline by mid-May 2019, NOC authorities said.

According to them, 70 per cent pipeline laying work on Raxaul-Amalekhganj route has been completed by now.

"Our target is to supply at least diesel through the pipeline to Amlekhgunj by mid-May. We have completed the pipe laying work in 26 of 36 kilometres Raxaul-Amlekhgunj route," said deputy managing director of NOC Sushil Bhattarai.

However, work to lay the pipes in 10-kilometre forest area has not begun yet due to lack of approval by the Cabinet to cut down the trees.

Bhattarai said that a proposal to cut down the trees was submitted to the Cabinet by the Ministry of Forest which is expected to be approved within a few days.

After receiving permission to cut down the trees, works to lay the pipeline in the forest area will begin, he said.

The NOC has already submitted the Environment Impact Assessment report of the forest area and other required documents to the Parsa Wild Life Reserve.

According to the EIA report, around 6,653 trees have to be cut down in the 10-kilometre stretch of the pipeline route.

Almost 70 per cent pipeline laying work of the project in Nepal's territory has completed in the last eight months while in the Indian side has completed 98 per cent of the same work in the 33 kilometres Raxaul-Motihari route.

The total length of the pipeline is 69 kilometres.

"The progress of the work is highly satisfactory. As 70 per cent of the pipe laying work in Nepal  has  completed  in 30 per cent time of the project  deadline,  we hope we will complete the remaining 30 per cent work in two to three months, " he said.

Initially, the project was to be completed in 30 months.

The construction work began in May 2018 although the agreement to build the pipeline was signed in August 2015.

The discussion over Raxaul-Amlekhgunj pipeline project had begun since 2005.

He said that the Indian side requested the NOC to clear the problems in the forest area at the earliest because the Indian side wanted to complete the project at the earliest.

Bhattarai said that Nepal Telecom, Nepal Electricity Authority and Department of Road have supported the NOC from their respective sides in the project site.

He said that the project would be viable to reduce the transportation cost of  fuel.

Around Rs. 1 billion transportation cost will be saved annually after the project comes into operation, he said, adding that the cost of the pipeline project will be recovered in four years.

The estimated cost of the pipeline project is Rs. 4.20 billion, of which, Nepal will bear only Rs. 1.2 billion for upgrading the Amlekhgunj depots.

Around 350,000 litre of fuel will be supplied per hour once the pipeline comes into operation.

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