Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) is setting up a high-tech calibration unit in Hetauda to provide calibration service for petroleum tankers.
According to the bureau, the unit will start operation from mid-July as the construction work is at the last leg.
Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, the director general of NBSM, told Republica that the calibration unit, will strictly enforce the calibration standards for petroleum tankers enforced by the government. “The unit has already been established. We only need to build perimeter wall now,” he said, adding that the NBSM has invested Rs 3.5 million to build the facility.
Calibration is a process that determines the measurement accuracy of instruments that may alter in due course of time. As Nepal doesn’t have calibration facility so far, fuel tankers have been using calibration facilities of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
“Earlier, our monitoring of petroleum tankers was not becoming effective as we did not have our own calibration facility. We had to work together with Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) while monitoring the fuel tanks as it is impossible to monitor without forging coordinating with them,” he added.
NBSM, so far, has been checking fuel tankers from calibration units of NOC at Thankot and Amlekhgunj. “The calibration unit in Hetauda has four tanks having capacity of 4,500 liters each. Now, we can calibrate the tankers by using modern technology at our own unit,” Pudasaini added.
Majority of tankers that supply petroleum products to Nepal has not undergone calibration test.
Around 1,500 tankers have been transporting petroleum products in Nepal. Of them, around 500 transport petroleum products inside the country, while remaining 1,000 bring fuel from refineries of IOC.
NOC and petroleum dealers have differences over the amount of fuel supplied to pumps by the tankers. While NOC has been maintaining that the tankers have been calibrated in India and hence are supplying correct quantity, dealers have been demanding that calibration test should be done in Nepal by the NBSM.
Petroleum dealers have clearly stated that they are not satisfied with the test conducted on NOC premises. “The dispute between NOC and dealers regarding calibration will end once NBSM brings its calibration unit into operation,” Lilendra Pradhan, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers Association (NPDA), said. “The facility will benefit petroleum dealers,” Pradhan added.
According to NOC, tankers must undergo calibration test every year. But the rule has not been followed by all tankers.
Pudasaini told Republica that only 500 tankers transporting fuel inside the country are undergoing calibration test on a regular basis. “Many tanker operators refuse to undergo such test. Those who have undergone such test do not return for years,” he added. “Once our calibration unit starts operation, petroleum ‘leakage’ while transporting will definitely be controlled.”
NOC Spokesperson Sitaram Pokhrel said that the calibration test will end dispute between the corporation and petroleum traders regarding quantity of fuel supplied to pumps.