Gas supply to resume

Kathmandu, April 8:

Consumers in Kathmandu valley are likely to get a temporary relief, as agitating gas bottling companies today agreed to import liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), stranded at Indo-Nepal border for over two weeks.

The consumers in the valley have been reeling under an acute shortage of cooking gas for over two weeks after Nepal LPG Industry Association (NLPGIA) went on strike from March 25, completely halting the import of LPG. Their two major demands include increase of current quota to up to 10,000 metric tonnes a month and co-mpensation on loss of transpo-rtation, particularly after hike of diesel price in last February.

The loggerheads between Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and NLPGIA ended this afternoon following government officials having agreed to address the demands of the industry within 10 days.

“We would tran-sport 160 bullets (gas tankers) stranded at Raxaul, which wou-ld be able to meet the demand for about 10 days,” said Sabarmal Agrawal, president of NLPGIA. He, however, said that agit-ation would continue unless and until their demands are met.

According to him, about 200,000 cylinders would be supplied in the market from Monday onwards. “We have yet to discuss about distribution modalities with distributors, dealers and retailers in order to prevent possible havoc because LPG is being supplied after more than two weeks,” he said.

Agrawal also informed that the NOC officials would relate the matter to a cabinet meeting through the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies. “It is up to the government now. We would not take any product delivery order (PDO) for NOC, until the government’s decision comes out,” he added.

Earlier today, a joint struggle committee of LPG dealers, distributors and retailers submitted a memorandum to prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, seeking his intervention to resolve the gas supply crisis.

“PM Koirala is understood to have instructed finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat and supply minister Rajendra Mahato to resolve the problem soon,” said Bibendra Pradhananga, spokesperson of the joint struggle committee. He also said that bottling companies must supply gas to distributors and dealers, at the end they are also the consumers.

The normal daily supply

of bottled LPG in the valley stands at 14,000 cylinders. Consumers in the valley have been reeling under shortage of gas for over three months, particularly after the terai unrest began. The crisis worsened after the NLPGIA went on a strike putting forth two major demands two weeks ago.