HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The common people, who are already suffering from rising price before the festive season, will have to face more hard days ahead due to government decision yesterday late evening of increasing the prices of the petroleum products.
The board meeting of state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) decided to hike the price of petroleum products citing the reason of huge losses. It is the fifth price hike in diesel and kerosene and fourth in petrol within last nine months.
According to the new rates that came into effect from today, a litre of petrol will now cost Rs 125 in the Kathmandu valley. Similarly, a customer will have to pay Rs 97 per litre of diesel and kerosene and Rs 1,470 for a cylinder of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) popularly known as cooking gas. The state-owned oil monopoly has raised Rs 5 on a litre of petrol, Rs 4 on a litre of diesel and kerosene and Rs 55 on a cylinder of LPG.
Similarly, the NOC has also jacked up the price of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF-domestic) by Rs 11 per litre to Rs 120 in the capital Kathmandu. The price of ATF-international went up by Rs 3.3 to Rs 108.75 per litre.
“With the increase, the overall loss of NOC has come down to Rs 732.9 million every month, according to price list sent by Indian Oil Corporation on September 1, though it has Rs 1.17 billion outstanding losses.
Though, the NOC claimed price hike a compulsion, consumer rights activist claim it as government inefficiency.
According to NOC spokesperson Mukunda Prasad Dhungel, the volatile prices of petroleum products in the international market may further hit the domestic market forcing the NOC to jack up the price again.
However, consumer rights activist Jyoti Baniya opined that the inefficient government has put the pressure on consumer before the festive season.
The government that claims to be of poor people has hurt the poor most, economist Dr Chiranjivi Nepal said, adding that the decision came at a time when the government has completely failed to curb rampant price hike in the market due to cartel, syndicate and hoarding by traders. “The price of basic commodities will see sharp rise since the black marketers will get new reason for artificial hike in essential commodities prices due to fuel price hike.”
The hike in price of diesel will also force the transportation fares to go up leading to hike in various goods and commodities that are moved largely by trucks, he added. Similarly, the cost of production of industrial sector will also increase due to price hike in diesel that has been used largely by industries due to massive power outage.
“The government thinks that the entire country will be operated by the revenue generated from fuel,” Nepal said, blaming the government for failing to reform petroleum business rather than opting for hike fuel irrationally.