HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Ministry of Commerce and Supplies is preparing to hike the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The ministry will hike the price of LPG, popularly known as cooking gas, within a week, minister for commerce and supplies Lekh Raj Bhatta said at a programme here in the valley today.
“It is likely that the ministry will jack up the price of cooking gas by up to Rs 200,” an official at the ministry confirmed. He, however, elaborated that the ministry might hike the price in a phase-wise manner. “The ministry will start hiking the price of cooking gas every week from next week.”
However, minister Bhatta floated a different idea regarding the price hike during the meeting with representatives from petroleum sector. He proposed to scale up the price by Rs 800 on a cylinder of gas for industries, according to former president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers National Association Saroj Prasad Pande, who took part in the meeting.
“The ministry will introduce consumer cards to provide gas at subsidised rates from April 14,” he said, quoting Bhatta. “The country will not be able to ensure the smooth supply of cooking gas, if the price is not adjusted according to the purchase price and taxes, after the implementation of consumer cards,” according to the minister.
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) had also pledged to distribute consumer cards to provide cooking gas at subsidised rates to general consumers from April 14.
Currently, the price for a cooking gas cylinder is fixed at Rs 1,415 for general consumers. NOC is incurring a loss of Rs 802.2 on each cylinder, according to it.
The monthly loss from the supply of cooking gas is Rs 962.42 billion, according to the corporation. The ministry is left with no option but to hike the price of petroleum products. But, the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies and NOC will once again face the charge of protecting black marketers and bottlers if it decides to hike the price.
The scarcity of cooking gas has been prolonged for more than four months amidst accusations of black-marketing and hoarding by bottling plants. But, the ministry has remained a mute spectator even though it is responsible to regulate the market.
The direct message will be that the taxpayers are paying taxes for the protection of ‘black-marketers’ if the ministry hikes the price of cooking gas without ending the current crisis.
NOC had imported around 17,000 metric tonnes of cooking gas in January and February but even that record high LPG import could not smoothen the supply in the market.
Ncell awards winners
KATHMANDU: Ncell announced the winners for the sixth week under its campaign ‘Ncell Sanga, Sabai Danga.’ It has been awarding attractive prizes including a cash prize of Rs 100,000, BlackBerry smartphone, iPad, LCD television and main balance of worth Rs 1,000 to lucky customers each week since March 5. In the sixth week’s lucky draw held on Monday, code number 06003801618 won a cash prize of Rs 100,000, where 06001526830 won an iPad, 06006432923 a BlackBerry smartphone and 06001992264 won a LCD television. Similarly, 500 customers were awarded with a balance of Rs 1000. The draw was conducted amidst journalists and special guests.