Guwahati: The Indian Oil Corporation will on 9 September send seven tankers of diesel and kerosene to Tripura via Bangladesh for the first time to avoid fuel crisis in the North Eastern state, as the dilapidated condition of NH-44 in Assam has made the transportation difficult.
IndianOil-AOD, the company’s North East division, will move kerosene and diesel from Betkuchi depot in Guwahati to Dharmanagar depot in Tripura in the first consignment through the neighbouring nation.
“In the first consignment, we will flag off seven tankers on 9 September from our Guwahati depot to Tripura via Bangladesh. It will carry 84,000 litres of kerosene and diesel,” Indian Oil Corporation executive director (IndianOil-AOD) Dipankar Ray told PTI in Guwahati. The second consignment of 10 tankers will depart from Assam capital next week through Bangladesh, he added.
“Out of that, seven will be LPG tankers with 49 tonnes, while three Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant (POL) tankers will carry 36,000 litres of fuel to Tripura,” Ray said.
During monsoon in May-June this year, Tripura faced unprecedented fuel crisis as supply was badly hit due to pathetic road condition of NH-44 at Barak Valley in Assam and thousands of tankers were stranded on roads for weeks. The situation forced IOC and Tripura government to scout for alternate ways to supply fuel. One of the options that the company already tested was roll-on roll-off, where tankers were transported by open rail wagons from Bhanga in Assam to Churaibari in Tripura, but IOC termed this system non-economical as transporting 24 tankers one way cost Rs3.9 lakh.
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NF Railway) has made two trips with oil tankers so far and the company will use this mode only in extreme cases.
Meanwhile, IOC identified a road route via Bangladesh and everything was finalised along with signing of an agreement within just one-and-a-half months. The distance for transporting POL and LPG from IOC’s Betkuchi depot in Guwahati to Dharmanagar depot in Tripura via Bangladesh will be 366 km, including 126 km inside the neighbouring nation, against 386 km in the normal route through the Barak Valley. The convoy will enter Bangladesh through Dawki point in Maghalaya and re-enter India at Kailashahar in Tripura.
As per the agreement, IOC will pay 1.02 Bangladeshi Taka per tonne per km along with 200 Bangladeshi Taka for entry and exit charges. The MoU also says that at any point of time, not more than 160 tankers will be plying on Bangladeshi roads. The company will have to pay in total around 1,500 Bangladeshi Taka to the neighbouring nation per vehicle, which will be about Rs1,300 in Indian currency.
The agreement is valid till September this year, but will be reviewed and renewed after examining the success of the process in one month.