Of 53 companies operating across the country, only one has acquired Nepal Standard certification in over a month
Kathmandu, December 30
The government’s initiative to ensure public safety by clamping down on bottlers of liquefied petroleum gas may not generate the expected bang, as only one out of the 53 bottlers operating in the country has acquired Nepal Standard certification in over a month.
Publishing a notice in Nepal Gazette on November 14, the government had directed all domestic gas companies to obtain the certification from the government within three months.
Interestingly, even the government-owned Salt Trading Corporation has not submitted an application to acquire NS certification till date.
According to Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology officials, only Manoj Gas has acquired NS certification, while three gas companies have submitted applications for the same.
Safety of LPG cylinders, whose demand has surged significantly in line with increased popularity of cooking gas, has been questioned after a number of incidents in which people were killed due to LPG cylinder blast.
Subsequent investigations have also revealed that the cylinders that exploded did not meet the standard prescribed by NBSM.
“We initiated the process of providing NS accreditation to gas bottlers to ensure LPG cylinders supplied in the market are safe,” said Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, director general of NBSM, adding, however, that gas bottlers seem least bothered to acquire NS certification.
Gas bottlers, on the other hand, argue that it takes time to meet certain set parameters to acquire NS certification.
Gas bottlers need to meet security and infrastructural standards to acquire NS certification. These include installing hydraulic testing machines, sending LPG cylinders to the market only after hydraulic tests, maintaining fitness of cylinders, cross-checking their weight and compulsorily using plastic cap to seal the valve.
Alleging that the government published the notice without holding a proper discussion with gas bottlers, Shiva Ghimire, president of Nepal LP Gas Industry, said, “Some of the parameters related to development of infrastructure required for NS certification cannot be met overnight.”
Ghimire added that the government should come up with a clear policy on who would bear the additional cost that gas bottlers would have to inject for infrastructural development to acquire NS certification, as such accreditation was not mandatory earlier.
However, NBSM seems to be steadfast in its resolve to ensure consumer safety.
“We are at the half-way point of the February 11 deadline when bottlers need to acquire NS certification. In case any of them fails to acquire NS mark by then, we’ll take necessary action,” warned Pudasaini.
A version of this article appears in print on December 31, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.