DoSMCP says the mechanism set up to take decision regarding sales of fuel imported by pvt sector has yet to give its approval
Kathmandu, March 10
Nepal Oil Corporation seems to have a knack of getting embroiled in controversies, as it has allowed privately-owned Birat Petroleum Pvt Ltd to sell petrol at Rs 130 per litre.
According to NOC, it has extended permission to BPPL to sell 132,000 litres of fuel through its authorised dealers after receiving a go-ahead from the Department of Supply Management and Consumer Protection.
DoSMCP, on the other hand, claims it never approved NOC to allow the private company to sell fuel in the retail market. “We have only forwarded a file to NOC for its view,” said Gokul Prasad Dhital, director general of DoSMCP.
After receiving consent from NOC, BPPL has started selling fuel to consumers at Rs 31 per litre more than the existing market rate.
At least two fuel stations in the Valley Jayanti Oil Store at Tripureshwor and Valley Rikesh Suppliers at Tinkune started distributing petrol imported by BPPL today.
The service stations selling fuel imported by Birat have put up flex prints boasting they are selling ‘Euro4 graded petrol’.
However, an official at Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology, on condition of anonymity, said it was a false claim and the fuel imported by Birat is of the same grade as that imported by NOC.
If it’s true, the private company is making a profit of over 30 per cent on the sale of petrol. This is in direct violation of the existing Black-marketing and Some Other Social Offenses and Punishment Act that bars businesspeople from making a profit above 20 per cent.
It is reported that BPPL has offered dealer commission of four rupees on the sale of each litre of petrol to the fuel stations.
Moreover, by allowing BPPL to sell petrol through its dealers, NOC has also breached the Dealers Bylaw. The bylaw clearly states that the state-owned petroleum company cannot allow any private firm to use its dealers to sell fuel in the market.
Earlier too, when the country was reeling under fuel crisis, BPPL had imported petrol in January and sold it through NOC’s dealers at Rs 190 per litre.
At that time, the government had formed a committee led by director general of supply department and comprising officials from NBSM, Department of Customs, NOC and Ministry of Supplies.
The same mechanism had been asked to take a decision in case of fuel imported by the private firm this time too.
However, this time NOC seems to have decided on its own to allow BPPL to sell petrol through its dealers.
BPPL had sought permission from DoSMCP to sell petrol at Rs 150 in the retail market three weeks ago. Before calling a meeting of its director general-led mechanism, DoSMCP had forwarded the file to take NOC’s view regarding the matter.
“This move of NOC when the supply situation is gradually becoming normal raises a big question regarding the inclination of NOC officials towards BPPL,” said Deepak Subedi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Supplies.
“I fail to understand how NOC could decide to allow BPPL to sell petrol in the retail market without following proper procedures and bypassing the set mechanism formed to take decision on the particular issue.”
BPPL Nepal Representative Parshuram Upreti could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.
A version of this article appears in print on March 11, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.