IOC's special winter-grade diesel powers Indian soldiers in Ladakh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat arrives in Leh, on Friday. PHOTO:PTI
A special winter-grade diesel Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has launched, just for the Ladakh region, will prove to be a lifeline for the Indian armed forces, keeping in view the prospect that the coming winter will be very tense for them because of the India-China conflict.

This fuel can withstand extremely low temperatures of around minus 33 degree Celsius.

“With army movements increasing, the demand for this fuel is expected to increase multifold over 350 tonnes last winter,” said a company source.

Upping the ante against Chinese aggression, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to the forward position of Nimu in Ladakh on Friday, with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief M M Naravane. 

In a violent clash between soldiers of the two countries at Galwan on June 15, at least 20 Army persons on the Indian side died.

The IndianOil executive said looking at the current situation, the company had stoked up enough winter-grade fuel for the region. 

“Last year, the demand from the armed forces was less than this,” he added.

On November 19 last year, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had launched the special fuel for Ladakh soon after the region separated from Jammu and Kashmir on October 31 and became a Union Territory.

The launch of this fuel was part of the Rs 50,000 crore investment initiated in the region by the home minister then.

What is winter-grade diesel?

The fuel was specially designed for motorists in high-altitude sectors like Ladakh, Kargil, Kaza, and Keylong. In these regions, motorists face the problem of freezing diesel during the winter season. 

Normally, a major component of diesel is paraffin wax, which improves viscosity and lubrication in the fuel. However, with temperature, it melts or thickens, affecting the normal performance of vehicles. IOC had launched this special fuel to address the problem, including additives to diesel, helping it to remain in a fluid situation.

This fuel has a low pour-point of minus 33 degree Celsius, which allows it to retain its fluidity even in extremely cold weather.

To ensure cooking gas supply to the region, IOC runs an LPG-bottling plant in Phey Village of Ladakh, which is 11,800 feet above the sea level. 

The plant ensures cooking gas supply to far-flung areas of Ladakh and Kargil, besides serving the Indian security forces. With a capacity of 8,000 tonnes (tmt) per month, it came to limelight as women comprise more than half the staff strength of 20, braving the temperature of minus 30 degree Celsius.

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