Guwahati, May 29 (PTI): PSU’s major Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) said on Sunday it was seeking to transport fuel to Tripura via Bangladesh after the rail network was totally destroyed due to massive landslides in Assam.
After the only rail link connecting Assam’s Dima Hasao district and the Barak Valley, Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura with the rest of the country was swept away earlier this month, the company began transporting all of its supplies by route via Meghalaya, bearing more than double the cost. .
“After the Dima Hasao landslides, the only way to reach Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and southern Assam was road connectivity via Meghalaya. This road is also prone to landslides,” G Ramesh, executive director of Indian Oil Corporation (IndianOil-AOD), told PTI.
The situation has forced the IOC, state governments and the Center to look for other ways to supply fuel to the southern region of the North East, he added.
Ramesh said IndianOil-AOD, the company’s northeast division, sent a few shipments to Tripura via Bangladesh in 2016 when supply was badly hit due to pathetic road conditions in the Barak Valley. in Assam.
“We are trying to revive this six-year-old network as an alternative route. Currently, we are talking with the government of Bangladesh through the Centre. We hope that positive news will come soon,” he added.
The company plans to send its fuel convoys via Dawki in Meghalaya to Bangladesh. He will then return to India at Kailashahar in Tripura.
Once the discussion is finalized and an agreement signed, the IndianOil-AOD will move its products mainly from the Betkuchi depot in Guwahati to the Dharmanagar depot in Tripura via the neighboring country.
“In the first place, we cannot send a complete convoy. We are looking to send a pilot convoy carrying petrol, diesel and LPG. Pilot cargo can only carry 80-120 KL of fuel,” Ramesh said.
Another senior company official, who wished not to be named, told PTI that IOC initially planned to move 1,400 KL of fuel through Bangladesh at a total transportation cost of INR 57.78 lakh compared to 34, INR 22 lakh on the railway.
The distance for transporting the various types of fuel from the IOC depot in Betkuchi to the Dharmanagar depot via Bangladesh will be 376 km, of which 137 km will be inside the neighboring country, compared to 579 km on the normal route through the valley of Meghalaya-Barak.
On September 9, 2016, IOC had reported seven tankers carrying 84,000 liters of kerosene and diesel from its Guwahati depot to Tripura via Bangladesh for the first time, to avoid the dilapidated trunk road in Assam.
After the destruction of the rail link, the IOC provides all its fuel by road via Meghalaya. This added a huge amount to the company’s balance sheet, an IndianOil-AOD spokesperson said.
“The monthly transport cost for Barak Valley, Mizoram and Tripura was INR 4.71 crore by rail. But now our cost has risen to INR 10.56 crore per month when the products are delivered by road,” said Shekhar Jyoti Dutta, IndianOil-AOD Manager (Corporate Communication).
For Manipur, products were flowing through the roads earlier and this continues without any disruption, he added.
Massive landslides and landslides, coupled with unrelenting rains for days, wreaked havoc in the Dima Hasao nature paradise and all means of communication were shut down.
While road links are mostly restored, rail services linking Dima Hasao, Barak Valley, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur with the rest of the country are expected to resume in July.