Kathmandu, Sept 10: The much awaited interstate petroleum pipeline project has been inaugurated today. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated the project from the respective countries.
A programme was organized at Singh Durbar for the PM Oli and at Hyderabad House for Indian PM Modi to switch on the project together as the inauguration via the video conference. With the inauguration, petroleum product has arrived in Amlekhgunj, Nepal from India’s Motihari. The pipeline is the first cross border project in South Asia.
For the first phase, diesel is brought and petrol and kerosene later. The Amlekhgunj-Motihari stretch is 69.2 km long.
The pipeline supplies nearly 4,000 kl petroleum product every day, the project said. With the cross border project in place, more than Rs 2 billion is saved which was earlier spent on it transportation.
Similarly, as the import cost declined, the price of the petroleum products has been slashed by Nepal Oil Corporation. The NOC cut the price of diesel, petrol and kerosene by Rs 2 per litre. Of the total diesel consumed in the country, 70 percent is supplied from Amlekhgunj.
A high level technical team including NOC Executive Director is at Amlekhgung in course of the project inauguration. The NOC and Indian Oil Corporation had agreed in 2004 to construct the interstate pipeline project. It was however stalled for a decade on various reasons.
In August 2015, then Minister for Commerce and Supply, Sunil Bahadur Thapa, and his Indian counterpart Dharmendra Pradhan had signed for the construction of the project. Both Nepal and India had special interest on completion of the project.
Similarly, PM Oli and the Indian PM Modi had jointly laid the foundation stone to the pipeline in New Delhi during Oli’s visit to India.
The project cost is 2.75 billion Indian currencies.
The programme organized to inaugurate the project at Singha Durbar was attended by Cabinet members, secretaries of various ministries and high level officials of the government.
High importance to relations with India: PM Oli
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said Nepal has attached high importance to its relations with India. After inaugurating the project on Motihari-Amlekhgunj interstate petroleum products pipeline from Singha Durbar via video conference today, PM Oli viewed that new vigor, dynamism and direction was needed to further elevate Nepal-India relations to a new height.
With the enforcement of the cross border pipeline project, not only time but also the cost would be saved on transport of petroleum product, he said, adding that it helps reducing air pollution as well. “The pipeline project has brought positive effect on Nepali consumers. Nepal Oil Corporation has slashed the price of petroleum products by two rupees per litre today itself,” he reminded.
The PM expressed gratitude to the Indian government for its cooperation and assistance to complete the project. “The petroleum products pipeline between Nepal and India is the best example of connectivity between the two countries. For this, I thank Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian government,” he observed.
According to him, Nepal-India cooperation is not only limited to some projects as the agreements have been made on various areas of bilateral assistance as on railway, roadway, hydropower, and integrated customs office. He further argued that favourable atmosphere was created to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation for mutual benefit. “The relations between Nepal and India are so deep that these can be expanded at any time,” the PM mentioned.
Moreover, the PM said, “Nepal has now encouraging atmosphere with growing economic growth rate, dynamism and able human resources for development and prosperity.” The government with the two-thirds majority was making headway to political stability.
During the address, PM Oli also invited his Indian counterpart to visit Nepal.
I’m very happy: exudes Indian PM Modi
On the same occasion, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing PM Oli, Ministers and concerned officials via video-conference from New Delhi, expressed his happiness over the inaugural of the cross border petroleum products pipeline. “I am very happy that the bilateral project has been completed in joint effort of the both countries,” he said.
The petroleum pipeline is the first cross border pipeline in South Asia. The Motihari-Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline project had been completed in half of the 30-months deadline stipulated on the part of Indian side as Modi said the bilateral project was highly prioritized by both countries.
Stating that India and Nepal had centuries old family and cultural ties at people-to-people level, PM Modi reaffirmed India’s support in the Nepal’s development endeavors. “The people-to-people relations between the two countries were a basis of the bilateral ties between India and Nepal,” he underscored.
Modi reminisced that he was regularly in talks with the top political leadership in Nepal and recalled that he had met with Nepal’s Prime Minister Oli four times in the last one and half years. He also mentioned the partnership forged between the two countries in new sectors benefiting the both countries. Accepting the invitation extended by PM Oli for Nepal visit, he pledged to visit Nepal in an appropriate time.