GUWAHATI: Guwahati: A bad road forced the Indian Oil-AOD, which is the company's Northeast division, to send oil and LPG tankers to fuel-starved Tripura via Bangladesh on Friday.
The condition of National Highway 44, which connects the land-locked northeastern state with rest of the country, is so bad that even a car cannot ply on it. The damage is along a 15-km stretch in Assam’s Barak Valley.
Tripura has been faced with an unprecedented fuel crisis this summer as supply was badly hit due to the pathetic road condition.
In the first consignment, nine tankers and an LPG bullet were moved out of Guwahati via Bangladesh. Never before a vehicle, carrying essential items, traversed the neighbouring country during its journey from any part of the Northeast to Tripura.
“We are expecting the vehicles to exit the Indian border at Tamabil on Saturday morning and re-enter the Indian border at Kailashahar in the evening. They are carrying 120,000 litres of diesel, kerosene and LPG,” Dipankar Ray, executive director of IOC-AOD, told Express.
The distance from IOC’s Betkuchi oil depot in Guwahati to Dharmanagar depot in Tripura via Bangladesh is 366km, of which 126km lie in Bangladesh. The route being used is 20km shorter than the normal route via NH-44. The vehicles will ply through Tamabil border point in Meghalaya, crisscross in Bangladesh and then enter Tripura through Kailashahar border point.
According to Indian Oil, the second consignment of 10 tankers will be dispatched from Guwahati next week.
As per the agreement with Bangladesh government, the IOC will pay around 1500 Bangladeshi taka to the neighboring nation per vehicle, which will be about Rs.1300. The agreement also says that at any point of time, not more than 160 tankers will be plying on Bangladeshi roads. The agreement is valid till September but could be reviewed and renewed later.
The IOC had transported 24 tankers by train recently but it cost the company Rs.3.9 lakh one way. The railway option, however, will remain for emergencies.