NOC threatens traders of action

Kathmandu, November 1:

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has today threatened cooking gas distributors to punish under Essential Service Act-2014, if they do not resume gas distribution from tomorrow.

The distributors have stopped cooking gas distribution from almost a week — after the NOC hiked price of petro products — demanding more commission.

“Though some of their demands are genuine, others can not be fulfilled,” Digamber Jha, managing director of the state-owned NOC said adding that the genuine demands will be fulfilled within a month, if the distributors agree to resume smooth supply.

Jha also accused them of carteling. “This is against the norms of privatisation,” he said adding that privatisation benefits consumers but here consumers are being cheated in the name of associations.

Jyoti Baniya, general secretary of Consumers’ Forum said that consumers’ right should be protected. “We are also ready to file a complaint, if the association registered under Organisation Registration Act does such bargaining,” he said adding that their demand of increment in profit margin is illegal.

Yesterday, a meeting held between the NOC and agitating gas distributors to discuss the demands ended inconclusively. The NOC has sought a month’s time to review the profit margins and commissions. Representatives of the distributors, however, insisted on fulfilling their demands immediately.

After the talks failed between the distributors and NOC, the distributors yesterday organised a press meet and blamed NOC for the shortage of cooking gas. “There is no transparency in the dealing and supply mechanism,” they blamed.

Meanwhile, NOC is also planning a duel pricing system for commercial and domestic users of cooking gas. “According to the survey, only 64 per cent is used for domestic purpose, whereas 25 per cent is used by the hotels, two per cent by the industries and nine per cent by the vehicles run by gas,” Jha informed. But until the dual pricing comes into effect, the domestic users are forced to suffer as NOC has no alternative mechanism for gas supply.

The recent dispute between the NOC and gas distributors has also given rise in the black marketing of gas at present.