A high-level meeting between Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to review the Nepal-India cross-border oil pipeline project is scheduled to begin on Thursday. The three-day meet between the two fuel companies will basically focus on reviewing the progress made in the planned Motihari-Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline project (previously called Raxaul-Amlekhgunj oil project) and take necessary decisions to expedite the project, as per Sushil Bhattarai, acting deputy managing director of NOC.
“The meeting will take note of the project’s progress in the Nepali and Indian sides. Along with taking necessary decisions to expedite the project, the meeting is likely to decide on the date to begin the construction works of the project,” said Bhattarai. Bhattarai also said that the IOC team is also expected to visit the sites of planned areas where the pipeline will traverse and take note on clearance of encroachments along the project route before deciding on the date to start the construction works of the project.
“The scheduled meeting will not only give momentum to the Nepal-India oil pipeline project, it will also set a roadmap for the project,” said Bhattarai. Meanwhile, NOC has informed that majority of groundwork for the project has been completed so far and the actual construction works of the project is expected to begin within December itself. NOC has claimed that almost 80 per cent of the encroachments along the project route has already been cleared. However, work regarding forest clearance is still pending.
Bhattarai informed that the concerned agency has already prepared the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the pipeline project and the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE) will soon approve the document. Once MoPE approves the document, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation will have to give a final nod to the EIA, which will open the door for IOC to begin construction work, according to him.
Though the two countries had inked an agreement to construct the much-hyped Motihari-Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline in August of 2015, the project has been delayed due to various factors like tensions in Nepal’s southern border points. Of late, the concerned agency of IOC has started supplying pipes and other machinery required for the pipeline project. NOC has been storing the imports meant for the project in the warehouse of Birgunj Sugar Mill.