Kathmandu, November 19
Amid consumers rushing to purchase cooking gas suspecting possible shortage, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has clarified that the supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is normal and urged consumers not to panic.
Based on rumours that LPG supply is likely to be interrupted following the Nepal-India border encroachment issue, consumers were seen queuing for cooking gas at various LPG suppliers today. However, NOC has asked consumers not to be swayed by such rumours as the supply of cooking gas is and will be smooth.
“We have been reported that consumers are increasingly purchasing LPG from the market suspecting possible crisis. But consumers should not panic listening to rumours as the trend will break the supply-demand chain,” said Sushil Bhattarai, deputy managing director at NOC.
Moreover, Bhattarai said that related state agencies, including NOC, should identify those spreading such false rumours and put them behind bars.
“Along with NOC, the consumers themselves, LPG bottlers and distributors should be responsible towards ensuring uninterrupted supply of LPG. However, even LPG bottlers and distributors tend to act irresponsibly and take benefit of such situations,” added Bhattarai.
Meanwhile, NOC has also suspected that LPG bottlers and distributors are attempting to hoard cooking gas. “If this is proved, NOC will take action against the wrongdoers,” he said.
LPG trading in Nepal is solely done by the private sector, making it solely responsible to ensure effective supply of cooking gas in the market. However, NOC is preparing to start trading LPG under its own brand name and end the monopoly of the private sector.
“NOC should also import and distribute LPG in the market. However, this is not for commercial purpose but to set a standard in the LPG market, which the private sector will be compelled to follow,” said Bhattarai.
However, bottlers refuted that they are hoarding LPG.
“We have been importing and supplying usual volume of LPG in the market every day. However, consumers themselves are creating havoc by exchanging and purchasing more LPG cylinders than they need,” said Gokul Bhandari, president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association.
As per him, the demand for LPG is generally high during winter season compared to the summer. “However, the demand this time has increased based on rumours of possible shortage of gas,” added Bhandari.
A version of this article appears in print on November 20, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.