Indian suppliers deny reducing number of bullets supplying LPG

Kathmandu, November 8

Contradicting the statement of the President of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association (NLPGIA) Shiva Ghimire, Indian transporters have denied they have reduced the number of bullets supplying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Nepal.

“We have been sending the same number of gas bullets used during normal times to supply LPG to Nepal and we don’t have any plan to cut down the number. The charge of Nepali gas bottlers regarding the number of gas bullets being sent to Nepal is bogus,” Bhanubhakta Khanal, spokesperson of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), quoted the chief of Indo-Nepal LPG Bulk Transport Association as saying.

Moreover, Indian transporters also dismissed Ghimire’s statement that Nepali bottlers would not use Indian bullets from April 2017 as ‘false’.

Quoting the chief of Indian transporters, Khanal said, “We have agreed with Nepali gas industries not to disrupt LPG supply and the number of LPG bullets will remain the same until November 2017.”

Talking to The Himalayan Times on Monday, Ghimire had said Indian transporters have reduced the number of LPG supplying bullets to Nepal by almost 150, which according to him, would create shortage of LPG in the near future as bullets procurement process from Nepal side has been stalled.

When contacted on Monday, NOC had said it did not have an update on the supply situation of LPG, while the Ministry of Supply spokesperson had assured the government had a contingency plan in place. “Nepal Police, Nepali Army and Armed Police Force have already been asked to procure LPG bullets and they are working on it,” the MoS spokesperson had said.

An NOC source, on condition of anonymity, said today that such a baseless statement from NLPGIA President Ghimire was just to create havoc in the market ahead of the winter season when the demand of cooking gas goes up by almost 15 per cent.

“His intention might be to create panic and take advantage of artificial shortage,” the NOC source said.

Another source, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of matter, alleged Ghimire had even used additional gas bullets to supply LPG to Nepal from one of the Indian transporters during the border blockade when the market was reeling under acute shortage.

After reducing the number of bullets from that transporter once LPG supply became normal, Ghimire had reportedly approached same transporter to increase the number of bullets again ahead of the winter season. “However, the Indian transporter has turned down the request,” source added.

Ghimire could not be reached for comment today as his cellphone remained switched off the entire day.

Meanwhile, NOC Spokesperson Khanal assured that the corporation would not let  market face LPG crisis at any cost. NOC has increased monthly import quota of LPG to 33,000 metric tonnes to domestic LPG bottlers for November, even as the average monthly demand of cooking gas during normal times is 26,000 metric tonnes, according to Khanal.