Gas bullets grounded for lack of licencesGas bottlers and lawmakers have urged the government to lobby India to issue ‘explosive licences’ to domestic tankers to allow them to transport liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Nepal.
Gas bottlers and lawmakers have urged the government to lobby India to issue ‘explosive licences’ to domestic tankers to allow them to transport liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Nepal.
Nepali LPG importers have been allowed to buy gas bullets, but without an explosive licence, they cannot transport it from India.
Lawmakers and gas bottlers raised the issue at a meeting of the sub-committee under the parliamentary Industry, Commerce and Consumers’ Welfare Committee on Thursday.
The Nepal government cleared domestic gas plants to operate gas bullets last July, breaking the decades-old monopoly of Indian transporters. Till date, 46 gas plants have received permits to import 775 bullets used to carry LPG.
The process to acquire 400 bullets bearing Nepali registration numbers has been started under the first phase at a cost of Rs5.50 billion, according to the Nepal LP Gas Industry Association (NLPGIA).
Two bullets have been purchased, and the procurement process for 398 bullets is at the final stage. Meanwhile, Indian transporters have agreed to transport LPG using their bullets till November.
Deepak Baral, director of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), said they had been lobbying the Indian government to issue the licences at the earliest. “Indian authorities have been delaying issuing the permits by asking for clarification about the modality of transporting gas by Nepali bullets, process of loading up at Indian Oil Corporation refineries, status of road permits and shipment routes,” he said.
NLPGIA President Shiva Prasad Ghimire said the permits had been delayed due to government apathy. “Besides writing a letter to Indian authorities, the concerned bodies have done nothing,” he said. “Talks should be held at the diplomatic level.”
According to the association, explosive licences are issued by the regional office of the Explosive Department in Nagpur, India. The regional office has said it does not known anything about issuing permits to Nepali gas bullets, Ghimire said.
The government announced through the 2016-17 budget statement that the import duty on gas bullets would be slashed by two-thirds.
Last December, Everest Gas Industry imported two gas bullets with Nepali licence plates. The company faced innumerable hassles while bringing them to Nepal. The bullets were stuck at the Birgunj Customs Office for almost a month due to confusion over the customs duty waiver.
Lawmaker Rajya Laxmi Shrestha said the government should initiate talks at the diplomatic level to sort things out as soon as possible. Another Lawmaker Rambir Manandhar said the issue needed proper coordination between the Supplies and Foreign Affairs ministries and NOC.