Black market fuels crisis of cooking gas: DoSMEven though supplies have gradually improved, rampant black-marketeering and hoarding of cooking gas have plagued the market, according to the Department of Supply Management (DoSM).
Even though supplies have gradually improved, rampant black-marketeering and hoarding of cooking gas have plagued the market, according to the Department of Supply Management (DoSM).
The department, which has intensifyed market monitoring for the past several weeks, has been rounding up several traders and retailers involved in black-marketeering and hoardings.
“The market is still in shortage of kitchen fuel despite improvement in supplies,” said Laxman Shrestha, director at the department. “The shortage is not totally due to poor supply.”
Based on complaints filed by consumers, the deparment has raided several gas sellers in the past few days. On Thursday, the department handed over proprietor of Sayami Chini Dhuku, a dealer of Nepal Gas in Balaju, to police on charge of black-marketeering.
Ram Chandra Kafle, monitoring officer at the department, said proprietor Binod Manandhar was found hoarding 49 filled cylinders and was selling them at a higher price. The dealer was given 350 cylinders to sell over a week but it was found charging higher prices even from its regular customers, he said.
The department also found Chandi Gas Udyog in Banepa stocking 400 of cylinders. “The gas plant claimed that it was unable to dispatch cylinders due to lack of empty cylinders,” said Shrestha.
Gaurishankar Gas Udyog was also charged for providing fake records to the department. The gas bottler had produced a record of supplying 170 cylinders to Sane
Supplier, a Banepa based distributor, while the distributor had received only 150 cylinders. “We have asked both the gas companies to furnish their clarification within three days.” The department also found Natibabu Kunwar, another distributor of Gaurishankar Gas, selling cooking gas directly to consumers rather than delivering them first to the gas depots. The distributor was supplying a small quantity to the depots so that it could sell the rest at a higher price to consumers, said Shrestha.
As per records at the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), it has been importing sufficient number of cooking fuel of late. NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire said they were importing an average of 60-65 bullets of gas per day, which is enough to fulfill the daily market demand. The state-owned enterprise imported more than 30,000 tonnes of gas in March, in excess to the normal demand of 29,000 tonnes per month. NOC has been planning to import 37,000 tonnes in April.
Ghimire said the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has also agreed to increase the quantity provided to NOC. Of the pledged quantity, NOC will be importing 17,000 tonnes of cooking gas from Haldiya, 13,000 tonnes from Barauni and 7,000 tonnes from Mathura-based refineries.