Bottlers accused of selling LPG at randomThere are complaints galore that the authorities have failed to take appropriate measures to ensure that available cooking gas is distributed among consumers in a proper manner.
As the country continues to reel under acute shortage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), there are complaints galore that the authorities have failed to take appropriate measures to ensure that available cooking gas is distributed among consumers in a proper manner.
Most of the complaints that the government has received are against Kathmandu valley bottlers, who have been accused of distributing LPG cylinders to their near and dear ones.
Following an unofficial blockade imposed by India, Nepal has been facing acute shortage of LPG for the last one and a half month, forcing people to queue up for days for one cylinder of cooking gas. To ensure that more people get the LPG cylinders, the government on October 31 said bottlers would distribute half-filled gas cylinders. It had also directed the bottlers to sell them through their depots. But the government has received complaints that consumers have failed to get cooking gas despite spending hours in queues because of foul play on the part of bottlers. Hari Narayan Belbase, director of the Department of Commerce and Supply Management, said that there have been complaints about uneven distribution of cooking gas. Belbase admitted that authorities have failed to take action for the fear that the LPG bottlers would stop distributing gas.
Almost all the bottlers have been selling LPG from their plants, instead of depots as announced by the government, citing security reasons.
The Department of Commerce and Supply Management, which has been entrusted with the task of monitoring the market and ensuring proper distribution of LPG, said it had made two attempts to arrest bottlers distributing cooking gas to their kin, but in vain.
The government had formed a six-member committed and set up a control room at the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) two weeks ago to make sure LPG is distributed in an effective manner.
“We have received complaints in huge numbers about uneven distribution of cooking gas,” Belbase said, adding that the department is planning to monitor bottling plants to ensure smooth supply of LPG. “If LPG had been distributed through depots, the irregularities could have been avoided,” he said.
According to Belbase, bottlers have sold 20 bullets (30,000 half-filled cylinders) in the last two weeks from 12 companies, including Salt Trading Corporation, Nepal Gas, Sagar Gas, Everest Gas and Sugam Gas.
Sagar Gas received one bullet of LPG on Tuesday. Out of the total amount it had received, it sold 850 cylinders from its factory based in Banepa, while only a few cylinders were sent to depots.
Similarly, out of two bullets that Nepal Gas had received in the last two weeks, it has sold most of its cylinders from its factory based in Balaju. More than 300 LPG bullets (5,670 tonnes) have been stuck along Nepal-India borders.