Kathmandu, December 29
The Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumer Interest (DoSMPCI) has certified some 2,600 gas dealers out of more than 5,000 estimated dealers operating in Kathmandu Valley.
In a bid to manage distribution of cooking gas in the Valley, especially after the border blockade that started in the last week of September last year, the government had initiated a process in January to maintain a record of all operating gas dealers. Moreover, the government had directed gas bottlers to sell cooking gas only through certified dealers.
However, a majority of gas dealers are yet to complete the necessary procedure to obtain the certification from the government.
“We have repeatedly directed gas dealers to operate only after receiving certification from the government. But a large number of gas dealers are still not in our records,” said GokulDhital, director general of DoSMPCI, adding that the department will soon start monitoring gas dealers in the Valley and take necessary action against those found to be operating without government’s certification.
Apart from managing effective distribution of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), the government’s move is also aimed at maintaining an official record of dealers and facilitating state monitoring.
The government does not have an exact figure of gas dealers in the country. This is because gas bottlers had distributed dealerships haphazardly when the country was reeling under severe crisis during the blockade.
Consequently, the government has had trouble in systematising LPG distribution and holding proper monitoring. Moreover, such haphazard distribution of gas dealership increases the risk of accidents.
“We have provided certification to almost 2,600 gas dealers over the year. Since we don’t have official data on the number of cooking gas dealers, our move to certify gas dealers has been affected,” LaxmanShrestha, director at
Currently, DoSMPCI is certifying gas dealers on the basis of dealership letter of domestic gas industries which the dealers submit to the department.
However, gas dealers allege that the government introduces new rules only during crisis and those plans are pushed to the backburner once the supply situation improves.
“Gas dealers had been getting themselves certified at DoSMPCI until a few months ago. With the change in the government and eased LPG supply, the issue of registering gas dealers at DoSMPCI and managing efficient distribution of cooking gas is no longer in the priority of the government,” said RajeshDahal, general secretary of Gas Dealers’ Federation Nepal, adding that gas companies today have distributed dealerships so haphazardly that it is difficult to identify who is the authorised dealer and who is just a gas retailer.
Meanwhile, bottlers defend their move of increasing their dealership earlier as only ‘the need of the time’ because ‘the demand for LPG is increasing every day’.
“We have been distributing our dealerships in areas with higher population density and where LPG demand has surged significantly,” said Shiva Ghimire, president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association, adding that the bottlers have also urged all its dealers to get certification from DoSMPCI.
A version of this article appears in print on December 30, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.