Saturday, 13 July, 2024

Cooking gas hold-up leaves consumers choking


By Laxman Kafle

Kathmandu, Mar. 18: Many people who purchase gas from the nearby vendors are not getting cooking gas as the distributors and dealers have not supplied the essential material regularly.
Srijana Sharma of Chabahil Sawaswotinagar is following her nearby sub-dealer to get Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), but the sub-dealer has been postponing the date to give her a cylinder of gas.
“I am continuously visiting the vendor for the last seven days, but he is deferring the date every day to give me the gas,” she said.
According to her, the vendor is not getting gas from the dealers as per the previous schedule and is postponing the deadline every day.
“I have two gas cylinders of Sagar brand which have gone empty from today. When I reached the vendor Tuesday morning asking for gas, he shared that his distributor from Banepa was not responding to his phone calls,” she said.
Sharma is a just an example, there are many consumers who are facing similar ordeals despite the Nepal Oil Corporation’s claim to increase the supply of gas in the Kathmandu Valley.
NOC has claimed that it has been supplying more than 70,000 gas cylinders in the Kathmandu Valley on a daily basis for the last few days.
Gayatri Banjara of Gatthaghar said that she did not get Nepal gas cylinder even though she paid the local dealer a week ago.
“I paid the dealer expecting to get the gas in time as per his suggestion. I called him on Monday asking for gas, but he told me that it would take a few more days to get the gas,” she said.
Sandhya Pudasaini of Bhaisepati shared similar tale. She said that she did not get the cooking gas for the last two weeks despite visiting the nearest gas distributor several times.
“When I visited the distributor again today, the gas trader told me that the gas supplier was asking her not to call repeatedly as they would deliver gas when her turn came,” she said.
According to her, she has now started using induction heater thinking that gas would not be available easily.
President of Gas Dealers’ Association Nepal, Maheshwor Shrestha said that a large number of cooking gas cylinders were being supplied to the party palaces and canteens of police and army, which had resulted in the supply disorder.
“When the gas could not reach the distributors on time, the consumers have failed to get gas from their nearby sub-dealers,” he said.
The consumption of Nepal gas in Kathmandu is high in party palaces and canteens of the army and police, he said. When the Nepal gas is being supplied in large amount to party palaces the consumers are exchanging cylinders of Nepal gas with cylinders of other brands.
Earlier, the association had urged the gas distributors and dealers to distribute gas properly to the consumers. It also directed the gas dealers and gas industries not to sell new cylinders of cooking gas until and unless the supply of gas became normal.
Shiva Prasad Ghimire, former president of LP Gas Industries Association, said that imbalance of gas distribution system was also posing challenge to the smooth supply of gas in the market despite an increased supply.
“A few rich families are hoarding more gas because of their access to the distributors and gas dealers. This tendency has created a challenge to the needy and general people who are using only one or two cylinders,” he said.
According to him, there will be overflow of gas in the market if it is distributed properly in the market.
The other day, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Lekhraj Bhatta warned the gas traders that the government would intervene in the market if the shortage of gas continued.
He said that the government would take any measure to interfere in the market for ensuring the smooth supply of cooking gas to the consumers.
The demand of cooking gas had increased significantly in the market due to the fear of its shortage following the outbreak of the coronavirus.