HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The consumer card distribution that was started with an aim to provide Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) at a subsidised rate to consumers has been halted.
The entire process of consumer card distribution was halted after Gas Dealers’ Union filed a case against the Gas Dealers’ Association of Nepal (GDAN) –– the body which was facilitating the distribution process from the very beginning –– at the Supreme Court, said vice president of GDAN Maheshwar Kumar Shrestha.
Gas Dealers’ Union has challenged the legal status of the association in the court, said Shrestha, adding that the association cannot resume the card distribution task until the court delivers a final verdict. He accepted that GDAN was in the process of acquiring a legal status from the concerned government agency.
The association had started the card distribution from the beginning of April by issuing a card to prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai in the presence of the then minister for commerce and supplies Lekh Raj Bhatta.
It had completed the distribution of 100,000 cards in two months, said Shrestha. The ministry had planned to distribute four million consumer cards in 15 days but the association had failed to meet the deadline, an official at the ministry said.
The plan to adjust the price of cooking gas after the completion of the distribution of the cards has faced serious problems after the process was halted, the source said. “It is shameful that Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) did not even try to verify the legal status of the facilitating party before deploying it for the card distribution task.”
NOC had said that it would differentiate domestic use and industrial use of LPG after the introduction of consumer cards. It had also claimed that the actual database of consumers would be collected once the card distribution process was completed.
“But all the promises are futile for the time being,” an official at the corporation said, adding that Nepal Oil Corporation often receives criticism from different quarters of the society due its negligence on serious issues like card distribution.