NADA cries foul over adulterated petrol

Kathmandu, October 26:

Turpentine - a liquid chemical used in painting - has become the new fizz of bucks for blackmarketeers lately.

Though the government has banned turpentine, it is still found in abundance in petrol. Adulteration is more when there is scarcity of petroleum products.

HH&Company — the sole distributor of Bajaj bikes in Nepal — director Shekhar Golchha said “The suspicion lingers that these days some petrol pumps are mixing turpentine in petrol.”

Earlier, kerosene used to be mixed in petrol but now the more deadly substance for the automobile engine, turpentine, has been detected in the petrol, he said adding that it causes the engine to seize.

Nepal Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) has urged consumers - especially bikers - to ask for recipts while filling petrol from the petrol pumps. “It is so that we can take action, if the petrol is found adulterated,” said Laxman Ratna Tuladhar, managing director of Syakar Company Ltd — the sole distributor of Hero Honda in Nepal.

“Due to rampant adulteration of petrol, bikes are having serious problems,” said Bishnu Agrawal, director of Morang Auto Works (MAW) - the sole distributor of Yamaha bikes in Nepal.

“Around 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the newly-sold bikes are being retured before they run even 100 km,” he said adding that the level of the adulteration of petrol was increasing.

A NADA team, led by its president Sunil Khetan, met finance minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai today and apprised him of the problem. Dr Bhattarai suggested they make consumers aware of the problem and that consumers should ask from payment fereipts from the petrol pumps after taking petrol so that erring petrol pumps could be identified and action taken against these.

The NADA team also met Digambar Jha, managing director of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and Minister for Commerce and Supplies Rajendra Mahato yesterday to complain of adulteration.

According to NADA, the problem of turpentine in petrol is rampant in the eastern region and in the valley.

Petrol sold in Birgunj has lead also, apart from turpentine. However, according to NOC the petrol it supplies is free of lead.

“The manufacturers won’t take guarantee if the engine seizes due to external substances,” several distributors of bikes said adding that they were concerned as they were losing customers.

“Customers blame us, but we can do nothing until the customer helps us by informing us from where they got the petrol and produce payment receipts,” MAW director Agrawal said.