• Cross boarder oil pipeline to be put under NPP

    In a bid to facilitate the construction of Raxaul-Amlekhgunj Pipeline Project, the Ministry of Supply (MoS) is gearing up to table a proposal to the Cabinet to put the cross-border project under National Pride Project (NPP). According to Supply Secretary Prem Kumar Rai, there is a need to declare the cross-border pipeline project as a National Pride Project as construction of the oil pipeline project needs to clear almost 25,000 trees within Parsa Wildlife Reserve. However, the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act does not allow using land within the conserved area and cutting down trees like this.

    Under the Raxaul-Amlekhgunj Pipeline Project, the government also plans to develop a huge petroleum storage centre spread over 33.6 hectares of land that lies within Parsa Wildlife Reserve. MoS has also asked National Planning Commission (NPC) to give recognition to Raxaul-Amlekhgunj Pipeline as priority project. “Experts have said that the required land for the project within the conserved area can be acquired only if the government recognises Raxaul-Amlekhgunj Pipeline as National Pride Project,” said Rai, adding that MoS will soon table the proposal to the Cabinet to declare the pipeline project as National Priority Project if recognition of the project as ‘priority project’ by NPC alone is insufficient to facilitate its implementation.

    However, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will have to be carried out before cutting down trees within the conserved area of the government. While NPC can give recognition of ‘priority’ to a project, projects are declared National Pride Project by the Cabinet. Talking to The Himalayan Times, NPC Vice Chairman Min Bahadur Shrestha said that NPC is optimistic to keep Nepal-India cross-border pipeline under priority project. “We will soon declare the pipeline project as priority project,” Shrestha said. Similarly, a few days ago, NOC Managing Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka had also emphasised on the need to recognise the pipeline project as National Pride Project to expedite the construction works.

    The construction of 41-kilometre Raxaul-Amlekhgunj Pipeline Project has gathered momentum in the last few months as the detailed engineering report (DER) of the project has been completed recently and pipe laying route for the project has been finalised. The completion of pipeline project is expected to ensure smooth supply of petroleum products in the domestic market and reduce petroleum transportation cost by almost 50 per cent. The Indo-Nepal oil project was signed in August last year. The entire project is expected to cost INR 2.75 billion and the Indian government will inject INR two billion for the project. MacKenzie Weegar Jersey

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