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Nepal earthquake: Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan visits border town to assess fuel supply

Sanjay Dutta,TNN | Apr 28, 2015, 02.31 AM IST

NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi has asked oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan to assess the situation in East Champaran district of Bihar, the area in India which has been hit the most by Saturday's devastating earthquake that ripped through Nepal, and monitor fuel supply to the neighbouring country.

Pradhan visited Raxaul in Bihar on Monday evening to assess the arrangement made by state-run IndianOil Corporation for ensuring uninterrupted and adequate supply of fuel.

"The prime minister is personally monitoring relief measures. Fuel is one of the things that is needed the most after any natural calamity. Raxaul-Amalekhganj (in Nepal) pipeline is Nepal's lifeline for fuel supply. I have come here to assess the position on the ground so that there is no shortage," Pradhan told TOI over phone.

He said he would be visiting quake-hit areas in East Champaran also on Tuesday to take stock of the situation.

Pradhan, who represents the state in Rajya Sabha, is the first Union minister to have been sent by the PM to supervise relief measures. A team of executives from IndianOil, the main fuel supplier to Nepal, is already in Kathmandu to ensure quick dispatch of products and help restore retail services.

Nepal takes 1.1 million tonnes of petro products in a month from India under a special government dispensation. Supplies consist of 26,000-27,000 tonnes of cooking gas and 0.8 million tonne of petrol, diesel and kerosene.

IndianOil chairman B Ashok had on Sunday told TOI that company officials had established contact with Nepal Oil Corporation soon after the quake. A control cell has been set up in Delhi to coordinate with the oil ministry and the Nepalese embassy. Another cell has been set up in Mumbai, IOC's marketing headquarters, to ensure dispatch of products on priority.

IndianOil is also meeting the additional demand for jet fuel from the Indian Air Force, which is at the forefront of relief and rescue operation, at Hindon, Gorakhpur and Palam military airport from where choppers and cargo aircraft are taking off on 'Operation Maitri'.