NOC mulls allowing gas sellers to swap any brand of cylindersNepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is considering allowing cooking gas sellers to exchange any brand of cylinders “for the time being”.
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is considering allowing cooking gas sellers to exchange any brand of cylinders “for the time being”.
NOC Managing Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka said talks are under way with bottlers and depots on this front. “The Supply Ministry has also agreed in principal to allow gas traders to exchange cylinders of any brand,” he said.
Due to the four-and-half-month Indian embargo, which ended in the first week of February, cooking gas is still scarce in the market. Consumers have to wait for up to a month to buy a cylinder despite NOC’s claims that has been importing sufficient quantity of the fuel.
According to NOC, it imported more than 30,000 tonnes of cooking gas in March, compared to the normal-time demand of 29,000 tonnes per month. It had imported 27,162 tonnes in April against 24,000 tonnes in the same month last year.
NOC Director Bhanu Khanal said even the gas bottlers are positive about allowing retailers to exchange any brand of gas cylinders. “After collecting the empty cylinders, they will be sent to their respective companies,” he said, adding gas companies could charge a certain amount to consumers to recover the costs for transferring cylinders to other companies.
Some gas bottlers, however, said there are some technical issues that have to be first resolved before implementing the provision. They said issues like repainting of cylinders, repairing of valves, possible cylinder tampering and hydraulic testing, among others, have to be addressed.
Dharma Raj Bartaula, proprietor of Griha Laxmi Gas, said the government should compensate the bottlers or consumers for any possible losses. “The government should commit compensation for any type of damage to cylinders or risks to consumers due to possible tampering with cylinders by rival gas bottlers with ill intention.”
Jit Bahadur Karki, managing director of Kankai Gas, said the government should specify areas where a particular company could sell its products.