Thursday, 18 July, 2024

PM Oli, Modi to open cross-border pipeline today


By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Sept. 10: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will inaugurate the much-talked-about Amlekhgunj-Raxaul-Motihari petroleum pipeline on Tuesday.
The two Prime Ministers will inaugurate the cross-border Nepal-India petroleum pipeline by pressing remote switch button from their respective offices.
After the inauguration, chief of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) J P Sinha will hand over a sample of petroleum product to managing director of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) Surendra K Poudel amidst a function to be organised in Amalekhgunj, said Birendra Goit, spokesperson of Nepal.
The petroleum line will come into regular operation also from Tuesday.
He said the executive heads of both the countries are scheduled to press the switch that opens the valve of the petroleum pipeline exactly at 12.15 pm tomorrow amid the presence of high-level government dignitaries of both the countries in a video conference.
The test of the 69.2 km cross border petroleum pipeline succeeded after 1,000 KL of diesel arrived at Amlekhgunj depot of NOC via the pipeline last month.
About 36.2-km of the petroleum pipeline-- from Raxaul border to Amlekhgunj—lies in Nepal and 33km -- from Motihari to Raxaul, lies in India.
The project (Amlekhgunj to Raxaul) was built at the cost of IRs. 2.75 billion, of which, India borne IRs. 2 billion and the 33-kilometre Raxaul--Motihari pipeline was constructed by India itself.
The pipeline has the capacity of bringing 292 KL petroleum product per hour but the NOC is planning to bring only 160 KL petroleum product per hour, Goit said.
The construction of the project that begun in April, 2018 completed 15 months prior to the set deadline. However, the NOC will start to import petrol only after increasing the petrol storage capacity in Nepal.
The Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline was first proposed in 1996. However, the project finally edged closer to reality during Indian PM Modi’s visit to Kathmandu in 2014.
The two governments had inked an agreement to execute the project in August 2015. The ground-breaking of the pipeline project took place almost 20 years after the first discussion on the project had held between the Nepali and Indian authorities.
About 36.4-km of the petroleum pipeline--from Raxaul border to Amlekhgunj—will lie in Nepal and 33.7-km stretch from Motihari to Raxaul will be in India. The project is constructed in a joint investment of Nepal and India for smooth supply of petroleum products to Nepal from India. IOC was implementing the project, and NOC was facilitating to expedite the pipe laying work by handling problems in Nepal’s side.
The NOC had conducted the EIA survey by appointing consultants after the concerned ministry asked the NOC to conduct the EIA in the eleventh hour when the construction work was almost to begin.  
As per the EIA report, around 5,000 trees had to be cut down along around 9 kilometres of the pipeline route.
The Timber Corporation has already committed to completing tree chopping work within three/four months, he informed.