House panel asks MoS to look into concerns of fuel tanker operators

Kathmandu, February 22

The Committee on Commerce, Industries and Consumer Welfare Relation of the Legislature-Parliament today directed the Ministry of Supplies (MoS) to look into concerns raised by petroleum tanker operators in the country and ensure consumers of uninterrupted fuel supply in domestic market.

The direction to this effect has come as some petroleum tanker operators have been halting regular supply of petroleum products demanding amendments in some provisions of the Petroleum Products Transportation Bylaw.

“Supply of essential goods like fuel should not be disrupted at any condition. The MoS should quickly resolve the conflict that has arisen between the government and a section of petroleum tanker operators,” said Bhisma Raj Aangdambe, chairperson of the committee.

A section of transport operators close to the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) has been staging a protest demanding amendments in the new transportation bylaw, which requires tanker operators to maintain a minimum fleet size of five tankers. These concerned tanker operators had not loaded petroleum products last Friday and have warned that they would completely halt supply from Monday if their demand is not addressed.

Similarly, committee also directed MoS to facilitate domestic gas bottlers in expediting liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bullets procurement process and solve the hurdles being faced by the gas bottlers through bilateral efforts with India.

Due to lack of Explosive Certificate — a mandatory certificate for gas bottlers to get loading of LPG — domestic LPG bullets have not been able to supply cooking gas in the market. As per domestic LPG bottlers, the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation of India is reluctant to issue such certificates to Nepali LPG bullets, thereby delaying Nepali LPG bullets to begin transporting cooking gas to Nepal.

The committee also directed MoS not to issue new licences to gas firms and systematise LPG distribution in the market by encouraging gas companies to merge.

Consumer activists condemn protest

KATHMANDU: Consumer rights activists have condemned the recent halt in fuel supply by certain petroleum tanker operators.

Issuing a press statement on Wednesday, officials of National Consumer Forum (NCF) said that the recent interruption in fuel supply is deliberate and the government should take action against those oil tanker operators who are staging protest by cancelling their route permit licences. “The new Petroleum Products Transportation Bylaw aims to control oil pilferage.

However, these tanker operators are against the bylaw as the new law has attempted to clamp down on theft of petroleum products in the country,” said Prem Lal Maharjan, president of NCF.