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Row between NOC, petroleum suppliers creating shortage of fuel, cooking gas



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Kathmandu, Apr. 3: In recent days, consumers are witnessing a shortage of liquefied petroleum gas due to the halt in the import and distribution of fuel by entrepreneurs.
The shortage of LP gas has been created in the market due to disagreement between the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and gas entrepreneurs.

The gas entrepreneurs have stopped the import of cooking gas demanding the adjustment of the transportation fare of cooking gas as per the increase in diesel price, said Gokul Bhandari, former president of the Nepal LP Gas Industry Association.

Recently, the NOC had stopped increasing dealers' commission citing its losses due to significant price hikes of petroleum products in the international market.
Entrepreneurs have been agitating for a month citing that NOC has stopped the increment of commission paid to the dealers in line with the price hike of petroleum products.
Bhandari said that the association was forced to stop the import of LP gas as it did not show any interest in addressing the demands of the businessmen.

The shortage in the market started when the gas industrialists and dealers did not import gas from India saying that the government has not adjusted the fare for gas transportation along with the increase in the price of petroleum products, he added.

"We did not take a purchase delivery order (PDO) from NOC to import gas from IOC for almost 15 days. Now, every industry has run out of stock of LPG," he said.
He said that even though the industry had supplied cooking gas to the dealer till Wednesday, the sale was not distributed from Thursday as the industries did not have gas.
"Demand has not been met and there is no import. Even if we talk to the Corporation and our demands are met, it will take at least four days for the gas to reach the market. Until then, there will be a shortage in the market."

He blamed the Corporation for the shortage of cooking gas. "The Corporation has been increasing the price to the consumers saying the price has gone up. But, why did the NOC not adjust the transportation fare?" he said.

Stating that there has been no adjustment of transportation fare for the last three years, he said that the current increase in fuel price has added an additional burden to its transportation.
Spokesperson of NOC Binitmani Upadhyay said the gas entrepreneurs did not take PDO to import gas for the last 15 days which had created problems in the market.
Some industries had been taking PDO for importing around 100 tonnes gas daily till last week. But, they completely stopped taking PDO from Tuesday, he said. The NOC used to issue PDO for importing gas up to 1,800 tonnes daily.

"Even though the NOC requested the gas entrepreneurs and petroleum dealers to wait at least until mid-July to address their demands, they stopped the transportation of PoL products, including cooking gas, which hit the consumers badly," he said.

The NOC is ready to address their genuine demands, but would like to ask them to wait for a few months, he said, adding that everyone, including businessmen, should support the smooth supply of fuel in this abnormal situation of price hikes.

"If the entrepreneurs are not ready to import gas by taking PDO for import, it will directly hit the consumers. Industrialists have stopped the import of essential goods which is against the consumers' interest and constitution."
Not only LPG, there is a shortage of fuel in the market after the entrepreneurs affiliated to petroleum products have stopped transporting POL products from Friday.

On Friday and Saturday, there were long queues of consumers in front of almost all the petrol pumps in the valley after the petroleum dealers stopped transporting fuel.
Nepal Petroleum Dealers National Association, Federation of Nepal Petroleum Transport Entrepreneurs and Nepal LP Gas Industry Association have been agitating against commission cut.