The ongoing crisis for petroleum products due to protests by Madhesi parties in the southern plains bordering India has forced Nepal to look for global suppliers to tide over the situation.
Indian Oil Corporation is the sole supplier of petrol, diesel, aviation fuel, kerosene and LPG to Nepal. But the blockade caused by protesters opposed to the new constitution has led Kathmandu to look elsewhere for respite.
On Thursday, state-run Nepal Oil Corporation, the sole agency that deals with transportation and distribution of petroleum products in Nepal, floated a tender seeking bids to provide supplies for at least 15 days.
Suppliers will have to provide 200 kilolitres of diesel, 100 kilolitres of petrol, 200 kilolitres each of aviation fuel and kerosene, and 100 metric ton of LPG on a daily basis by air or land route.
The bids have to be submitted within three days so that supply can start ahead of Dashain (Dussehra), the biggest festival in Nepal, which falls this month, and witnesses a mass movement of people within the country.
Land locked Nepal is dependent solely on India for its petroleum products. But the protests by Madhesis who are targeting customs points at several areas have prevented smooth entry of goods from India.
Several dozen tankers have entered Nepal since the protests intensified two weeks ago, but they are not enough. Nepal has stopped selling fuel to private vehicles to tide over the crisis.
Long queues of vehicles outside petrol pumps are seen in Kathmandu. The crisis has affected educational institutions and the country’s tourism industry.
While New Delhi has blamed the protests as reasons for the sluggish movement of trucks on the border, Kathmandu has accused India of imposing an undeclared embargo as the latter is unhappy with the new constitution.
Nepal imported 287,473 kilolitres of petrol, 921,714 kilolitres of diesel, 19,653 kilolitres of kerosene, 141,404 kilolitres of aviation fuel and 258,299 metric tons of LPG from India during the last financial year.