Kathmandu, Sep 28 (PTI) India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is in Nepal to hold talks on the modality of construction of a petroleum pipeline from Amlekhgunj to Chitwan and the import of petrol and gas to the land-locked Himalayan nation. Also Read - Coronavirus in India: Another COVID-19 Patient Dies in Maharashtra, Death Toll in State Rises to 21 | Highlights

Nepal is seeking extension of three pipelines natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and oil (petrol, diesel and kerosene) up to Chitwan, the Kathmandu Post reported. Also Read - India to be Under Lockdown For 21 Days, Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Spike to 536

The Indian petroleum minister and his team will hold discussions on the under-construction petroleum and gas pipelines, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) spokesperson Birendra Goit was quoted as saying by the daily. Also Read - COVID-19 LIVE: Next 3-4 Weeks Are Crucial, PM Modi Tells State CMs | Top Developments

Pradhan, who arrived here on Friday, will hold discussions with various authorities involved in the construction of the pipeline.

The meetings will discuss issues regarding the modality of construction of petroleum pipeline from Amlekhgunj to Chitwan and the import of petrol and gas, the daily said.

In 2015, the two governments had signed an agreement to lay a 69-km oil pipeline from Motihari in India to Amlekhganj. Nepal is now seeking extension of the natural gas and LPG pipelines along the same route.

India is currently building the oil pipeline between Motihari and Amlekhgunj. So far, a 17 km stretch of the 36.2-km section of the pipeline, which lies on the Nepal side, has been over, according to the NOC.

Nepal’s fuel imports have rocketed in recent years. Last fiscal year, the demand for cooking gas surged 18 per cent to 370,560 tonnes, according to the NOC.

The gas pipeline will result in savings of around Rs2 billion annually for Nepal by eliminating tanker trucks. Diesel and cooking gas accounted for 80 percent of the total fuel import bill of Rs 170 billion last fiscal, the daily said.

During the recent visit by Nepal Commerce Minister Matrika Prasad Yadav, India agreed to build a gas pipeline to Nepal.

The two countries had agreed to discuss the modality of construction at the joint working group meeting.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.