While the prices of petrol and diesel touched Rs 100 at some places in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, this situation is turning out to be a money making business for mafias active on the borders of India and Nepal.
The smuggling of petrol and diesel is taking place in areas adjoining the Nepal border with people going to Nepal on bikes and bicycles, and coming back with gallon cans filled with fuel to villages in West Champaran district.
Reports of smuggling of fuel emerged from over two dozen villages like Bhiritarwa, Basantpur, Semarwari, Bhaluwahiya, Bhagha etc located on the India-Nepal border. These are unchecked places due to the open borders between the two countries. The prices of petrol and diesel are much lower in Nepal compared to India.
According to an official, the price of petrol in Nepal is Rs 111.20 (Nepalese Rs) which is equal to Rs 69.50 in Indian currency. Similarly, the price of diesel in Nepal is Rs 94.20 (Nepalese Rs) equivalent to Rs 58.88 in Indian currency.
In Bihar the price of petrol is Rs 92.51 and Rs 85.70 for diesel. Interestingly, India exports petrol and diesel to Nepal.
Due to such illegal practices, the sale of petrol and diesel at petrol pumps located at these places in India has declined sharply. Hence, petrol pump owners are complaining to the district administration about smuggling of fuel.
“As the border is open in these places, villagers often go there carrying gallon cans on bikes and cycles to buy petrol and diesel. They generally operate at night and sell it to individual buyers,” said Rajiv Sharma, manager of a petrol pump, in Iranwa village.
Another employee Ibrahim Khan said: “The local administration knows about the smuggling. We have informed the local police also but they are not taking any action. The mafias are strong in these villages and that probably is the reason for inaction from the police department.”
Kundan Kumar, the SHO of Iranwa police station said: “We have received complaints about smuggling of fuel. Accordingly, we have taken measures. We have enhanced night patrolling in these areas to nab the smugglers. The process of identifying individual smugglers is underway through local informers.”