Wednesday, February 20, 2019

LP Gas Industry warns of protest

Nepal Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Industry Association – organising a press meet today – warned of a protest, if their demands are not met at the earliest. The association said that it will halt collection of LPG product delivery order (PDO) from Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) from March 1, if their demands are not met.
Similarly, issuing a 10-point demand the association warned that it would launch a protest if the government did not fulfil them within 10 days. It said they would completely halt the supply of gas from March 14.
The The Nepal LPG Industry Association (NLGIA) has been demanding allowance for the operation of Nepali private number plate gas bullets, revision of the commission on LPG, quota determination for LP gas and uniformity in the price of cooking gas. Likewise, they have also been demanding insurance for LPG-related accidents and timely amendment to the LP Gas Regulations, 2065.
"We have invested billions of rupees to purchase LPG bullets and dozens of such bullets are ready for delivery," NLGIA president Gokul Bhandari said, adding, "However, Nepali bottlers have not been able to use these bullets due to lack of non-explosive certificate."
The association – condemned the government for failing to facilitate gas bottling plants to acquire ‘non-explosive’ certificate from Indian authorities, which enables LPG bottlers to use their own bullets to transport cooking gas from India to Nepal – has announced a series of programmes to protest the 'government’s inaction' to resolve problems facing the LPG industry.
Likewise, the NLGIA has also demanded that the government raise commission on LPG for both bottlers and distributors. Currently, NOC is providing commission of Rs 30.55 per cylinder to bottlers and Rs 32 per cylinder to distributors.
It has also been asking the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) – since September – to conduct a study on challenges facing the LPG industry as promised by the government.
"The government had promised to conduct a study on contemporary challenges facing the LPG industry and address them gradually five years ago," Bhandari said, adding that the government apathy towards the industry has humiliated them. According to Bhandari, the ministry had formed a committee led by former National Planning Commission (NPC) member Puskar Bajracharya in 2013 to provide recommendations on the amount of commission that should be paid to bottlers. "The panel had recommended a commission of Rs 52 per cylinder, but it was slashed to Rs 19," Bhandari added.
Bottlers also expressed concern over NOC issuing licences to new bottling firms. There are 56 gas bottlers in the country currently. "Most of these companies are operating at 40 per cent capacity," he said, adding that Nepal imports 35,000 tinnes to 40,000 tonnes of cooking gas per month. Demand for the fuel is growing at the rate of 17 per cent per annually, according to NOC.

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