Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ministry of Commerce and Supplies asks Home Ministry to impose Essential Service Act on LPG

The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies is asking the Home Ministry to impose  the Essential Service Act on the trade of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), popularly known as cooking gas, tomorrow as the gas bottlers have threatened to halt supply.
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has recommended the ministry to impose the Act saying it is urgent since the plants warned of halting LPG supply from today, said secretary at the ministry Lal Mani Joshi.
He, however, said that the ministry will ask NOC to continue talking to the bottlers to settle the dispute between the government and bottlers.
The corporation has been compelled to take the decision of imposing the Essential Service Act (ESA) keeping in mind the consumers, said acting managing director of NOC Suresh Kumar Agrawal.
Among other things, the ESA bans all types of strikes in the import and distribution of petroleum products including LPG.
Persons directly involved in strikes against essential services are subject to a six-month jail term or a fine of up to Rs 2,000 or both, according to Essential Service Act of the country. Likewise, those inciting strikes or tacitly supporting the strike organisers are
liable to a one-year jail term or a fine of up to Rs 1,000 or both.
Earlier, LP Gas Industry Association Nepal had piled pressure on NOC to fulfill its 16-point demand and threatened to halt LPG supply. The association had claimed that it could halt the entire business since LPG was not under the jurisdiction of Essential Service Act.
The intention of NOC officials is not clean though it has recommended the ministry to impose the Act, an entrepreneur said, adding that the association and some officials at the corporation have been conducting several rounds of meetings to raise the commission rate.
"Members of the association are trying to bribe the NOC officials," the entrepreneur claimed.

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