The first meeting of Nepal-India Joint Working Group on Petroleum and Gas has been postponed at the last hour. However, the scheduled visit of Indian federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan is on and he will arrive on Friday, said officials.
The two-day meeting that was to begin on Wednesday in Kathmandu was cancelled at the last moment after the India informed that the head of the Indian delegation could not take part in the meeting because of some administrative reason.
The next meeting will take place as per mutually agreed dates.
Though JWC meeting is cancelled, officials of Nepal Oil Corporation and Indian Oil Corporation will meet on Thursday. They will discuss setting up petroleum and LPG facilities in Dhanusha, Chitwan and Sarlahi.
An NOC official said they would request the IOC to set up LPG bulk bottling in Dhanusha and two petroleum products storage plants in Chitwan and Sarlahi.
Commerce Ministry official said Indian Minister Pradhan will undertake a field visit for the Amlekhgunj-Raxaul petroleum pipeline and will meet his counterpart, Matrika Yadav in Kathmandu.
Nepal was all set to propose extension of Mothihari- Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline up to Chitwan with Indian assistance in the JWC meeting. The construction of the petroleum pipeline has already commenced from Motihari-Raxaul to Amlekhgunj.
During the meeting, Nepali side is expected to seek extension of three pipelines-natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and oil (petrol, diesel and kerosene) – up to Chitwan.
During Commerce Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav’s recent Delhi visit, India has agreed to build a gas pipeline to Nepal to help it save on fuel transportation costs. Ministry sources said India had given its preliminary consent to lay a pipeline connecting Motihari, India and Amlekhgunj or Chitwan in Nepal.
India said it may start the construction work after the project to extend the pipeline to Motihari is completed.