Govt's plan to substitute Indian LPG bullets fails to materialise

Kathmandu, January 9

The government's plan to substitute Indian liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bullets to supply cooking gas in the country has suffered perennial delays as the issue has not received due priority from the concerned agencies.

Almost a year has passed since the Indian authorities refused to issue non-explosive certificates to Nepali gas bullets - a major setback to materialise the plan to substitute Indian gas-carrying bullets. However, the inability of the government to resolve the issue with the Indian authorities till date has put the entire plan in limbo.

Even LPG bottlers are pessimistic the government will address the issue regarding issuance of non-explosive certificates and that Nepal will be able to substitute Indian LPG bullets any time soon.

“The past governments have been unable to resolve the dispute regarding the issuance of non-explosive certificate to Nepali gas companies so that the plan to substitute Indian LPG bullets could be realised. So, we cannot expect progress on this issue from the current caretaker government,” said Shiva Ghimire, immediate-past president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association (NLPGIA).

As per Nepali gas companies that have booked hundreds of gas-carrying bullets in India, their investment worth billions of rupees is currently at risk following the government's weak facilitation.

Gas bottlers have claimed that few LPG bullets of Nepali companies have already arrived in Nepal, whereas hundreds of such gas bullets of Nepali firms have already been manufactured in India and are awaiting issuance of non-explosive certificates from the Indian authority prior to delivery.

“It was the government's own plan to substitute Indian LPG bullets and gas companies started placing the orders for LPG bullets right after the announcement. However, the failure of the government to resolve the issue regarding non-explosive certificate issuance to Nepali bullets has deferred the entire process to operationalise Nepali gas bullets,” said Gokul Bhandari, president of NLPGIA.

Moreover, gas bottlers have been saying that delay in operationalising Nepali gas bullets might result in risk of LPG supply disruption as the Indian transporters and Nepali gas bottlers had principally agreed that Nepali gas bullets would gradually substitute current Indian gas bullets to supply cooking gas to Nepal from November 17, 2017.

However, it is to be noted that LPG supply in the country is normal despite such claims made by LPG bottlers.

Meanwhile, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is quite mum on this issue. But one NOC official, seeking anonymity, said that the process to substitute Indian gas bullets will gain momentum only after the formation of the new government.