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Numaligarh puts Siliguri pipeline on fast track

New Delhi, July 20: Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) has stepped up its efforts for the proposed Rs 650-crore Numaligarh-Siliguri pipeline project as the railways are not able to cater to the increased flow of petroleum goods being produced in Assam.

A senior NRL official told The Telegraph, “The refinery needs 65 to 70 rakes a month to clear its products but the railways could provide only 36 rakes during June. In May, the situation was even worse with only 17 rakes being made available.”

Each rake comprises 40 to 45 tank wagons. The national oil companies own around 1,200 tank wagons which are circulated amongst them on a demand-cum-priority basis.

According to NRL calculations, the cost of transporting petro-products by pipeline works out to Rs 158 crore less than the total amount being forked out as railway freight charges each year. It will also give the added advantage of moving petro-goods swiftly and safely over a long distance.

NRL is keen that Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) also makes use of this pipeline to evacuate its products from the Bongaigaon refinery. This will serve to increase the throughput and hence the economic viability of the project.

Sources disclose that NRL has approached the petroleum ministry with a proposal to obtain a firm commitment from IOC to ensure that the BRPL products are routed through this pipeline.

Oil India Ltd (OIL) has agreed in-principle to permit NRL to lay this pipeline alongside the existing Bongaigaon-Siliguri-Barauni pipeline which was initially put in place to evacuate crude oil from Assam. This will enable the new pipeline project to come up speedily as OIL already has the right of way along the route and the time-consuming problem of acquiring land for the project can be avoided.

Since OIL owns a stake in NRL, it stands to benefit from the increased profitability of the refinery.

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