PM Oli, Modi inaugurate Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline

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This combo image shows India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (top) and Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli remotely inaugurating Nepal-India cross-border petroleum pipeline through video conference via remote control, on Tuesday, September 10, 2019. Photo: Narendramodi/Twitter

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have remotely inaugurated the Nepal-India cross-border petroleum pipeline today through a video conference via remote control.

The formal inauguration took place after the executive heads of both the neighbouring countries pressed a switch through a live video conference connecting the Prime Minister’s Office in Singha Durbar, Office of the Indian Prime Minister in New Delhi, Amlekhgunj-based oil depot of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), and Motihari-based depot of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

Also present at the inaugural meeting from Nepal’s side was Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Prasad Yadav, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri, among other officials.

With the inauguration, a bottle of diesel filled from the new pipeline was symbolically handed over to Nepali authorities at the Amlekhgunj depot, which would be poured into the petroleum storage unit.

First proposed in 1996, the Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline finally edged closer to reality during Indian PM Modi’s visit to Kathmandu in 2014. The two governments had signed an agreement to execute the project in August 2015. However, the 2015 earthquakes delayed the construction of the project.

It is believed that the pipeline will help in solving the oil storage problem in Nepal and will reduce transit costs.

Costs and benefits

The project was initially estimated to cost Rs 275 crore, of which India was to bear Rs 200 crore. Subsequently, the NOC said the total project cost had escalated to almost Rs 325 crore.

“Commercial operation of the cross-border fuel project will bring down fuel price by at least one rupee per litre,” Sushil Bhattarai, NOC Deputy Executive Director, was quoted by PTI as saying.

Source : The Himalayan Times