IOC to invest Rs 170 crore in strategically vital Siliguri oil terminalSep 12,2018 SOURCE: ET
State-owned Indian Oil Corporation is going to invest Rs 170 crore in capacity augmentation at its Siliguri storage terminal that supplies fuel to a vast area and important defence establishments such as the 33 Corps. With three mountain divisions, the corps has snow clad high-altitude Sino-Indian border within its responsibility area. “It is more of an operational, strategic step that we are taking to augment the capacity of this terminal,” said Dipankar Ray, IOC’s executive director and state level coordinator for West Bengal. “The main focus will be in reducing filling time of oil tankers with modernisation of equipment and systems related to loading,” Ray told ET. The terminal serves the northern half of West Bengal and Sikkim. It also serves as the oil conduit for adjoining countries Bhutan and Nepal. But most importantly, it provides fuel to the Indian Army’s 33 Corps under the Eastern Command as well as the Indian Air Force bases at Bagdogra or Hasimara, in a region with four international borders, including the Sino-Indian border between Tibet and Sikkim. “With modern oil handling facilities, the Siliguri terminal is already declared a ‘Smart terminal’ with minimum manual handling required in its operation,” Said KK Bala, deputy general manager of the terminal. “To further boost it, now we will have a bottom-filling facility for tankers. Every day we fill up around 250 large oil tankers. With existing top-loading system, oil is poured into them from upside that causes spattering and takes around 30 minutes. With the bottom-filing facility, it can be done within 20 minutes,” he added. The oil terminal in Siliguri was established in 1962, a year before IOC was officially founded. The terminal had India’s first cross-country oil pipeline in 1964. Incidentally, after being disbanded in 1945, the 33 Corps was also re-established in 1962 with its headquarters at Sukna near Siliguri.