Bottlers supplying gas only to their near and dear onesAn inspection of Dhading-LPG bottling plants has revealed that some cooking gas depots have been supplied with unusually high numbers of cylinders.
An inspection of Dhading-LPG bottling plants has revealed that some cooking gas depots have been supplied with unusually high numbers of cylinders.
The bottlers have been supplying ample cylinders to depots belonging to their near and dear ones, who are charging exorbitant prices to the consumers, according to officials involved in the cross-check carried out by the Department of Commerce and Supply Management (DoCSM) on Monday.
The depots and bottling plants monitored belonged to companies like Salt Trading Corporation (STC), Om Gas, HP Gas, Baba Gas and Siddhartha Gas.
“Depots that used to sell just around 550 cylinders a month are receiving up to 1,500 cylinders,” said DoCSM Director Hari Narayan Belbase.
Two gas depots—Sampurna Enterprises and Ujjwal and Brojal Enterprise—operating in front of STC’s bottling plant were found overcharging customers. The depots are said to be operated by former STC plant officials. Besides, a number gas depots operating in front the Om Gas plant were also found to be involved in anomalies. Belbase said the department has sought clarification from proprietors of the depots.
The country has been reeling under an acute shortage of cooking gas and other petroleum products due to India-imposed trade blockade. And, traders have been accused of taking undue advantage of the situation.
According to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), seven-eight bullets have been entering the country every day after it started rerouting them to other border points. But even the limited supplies reach black-markets and the general consumers are forced to pay exorbitant prices.
Some depots have been selling up to 4,000 cylinders a month, while the others do not even have one, said Prem Lal Maharjan, president of the National Consumers Forum.
Madhav Timilsina, president of the Consumers Right Investigation Forum said many gas depots had been selling half-filled cylinders for Rs900-Rs1,000 per unit, against the actual price of Rs700.
Amid complaints that only a few wrongdoers have been taken action, DoCSM officials said they were committed to protecting the consumers’ rights by taking prompt action against the guilty.
DoCSM Director General Shambhu Koirala said they would take action against the depots overcharging consumers. “The department has considered up to Rs800 per half-filled cylinder amid high transportation costs, but we will not tolerate anything above that,” he said.