High-level panel formed to probe LPG shortageThe Ministry of Supplies has formed a high-level committee to investigate complaints of persistent shortages of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) despite increased imports.
The Ministry of Supplies has formed a high-level committee to investigate complaints of persistent shortages of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) despite increased imports.
Spokesperson for the ministry Deepak Subedi said that the panel, which was formed last week, would observe where LPG cylinders were being dispatched.
The five-member committee is led by Joint Secretary Uttam Nagila and includes representatives from consumer rights groups, Nepal LP Gas Industry Association, Gas Dealers’ Federation Nepal (GDFN) and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).
NOC issues purchase delivery orders to LPG bottlers and they distribute cooking gas cylinders directly to customers. Subedi said there was no authority monitoring the distribution system.
“The committee will study the distribution mechanism adopted by the bottling plants,” said Subedi, adding that the committee had been given a month’s time to submit a report.
NOC imported 19,800 tonnes of of cooking gas, enough to fill 1.37 million cylinders, during the first three weeks of March. Mukunda Ghimire, spokesperson for NOC, said shipments would be boosted to 25,000 tonnes by the end of the month. Deliveries of LPG by NOC have almost reached the pre-embargo level of 29,000 tonnes, but the fuel is still hard to come by in the market. The state-owned oil monopoly has blamed a faulty distribution system for the shortage.
Gyaneshwor Aryal, past president of the GDFN, also criticized the distribution system for the continuing shortage. “Most of the cooking gas provided by bottlers is being supplied to commercial consumers like hotels and restaurants, so it is still difficult for the general public to get the fuel despite improved imports,” said Aryal.
The Supplies Ministry has formed another committee led by Subedi to sort out problems in the distribution of gasoline. “Besides studying the distribution mechanism, the panel will effectively implement the scientific calibration system which NOC has installed at its depots,” said Subedi. Gasoline dealers have repeatedly complained of being given short measure by NOC.
Meanwhile, NOC said that diesel supplies had also returned to normal. Diesel imports amount to 3,000 kilolitres daily, it added.
“That is greater than the requirement of diesel during normal times. We have been distributing 600 kilolitres of diesel in the Kathmandu Valley daily,” Ghimire said.