NPDA refuses to talk to NOC

Kathmandu, June 19:

The protesting Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association (NPDA) today refused to hold talks with the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC). “The NOC has no mandate to fulfil our demands. So, we want to hold talks with the government,” said NPDA president Shiva Prasad Ghimire here today. It, today morning, also started picketing the NOC head office in Kathmandu.

The dealers, protesting against the sole oil supply monopoly NOC, have launched a series of protest programmes from last Thursday. Today, they also gheraued the NOC depots through out the country as a part of its protest programme.

The petroleum dealers are on protest demanding security and adequate supply of petro-products. They have also urged the government for earliest implementation of accords reached between them and the government in the past.

As a part of the protest, the NPDA has decided to padlock NOC depots nationwide on June 21, stop the purchase of fuel from NOC depots from June 22 and stop the sales and distribution of petroleum products from the June 23.

The dealers’ body has earlier submitted memorandum to the concerned authorities including NOC and the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies before starting their protest programmes.

Even after the steep rise in prices of petroleum products on June 9, the NOC has not yet been able to improve supply. NPDA had also called a national assembly of its 2,187 members across the country in Chitwan yesterday to discuss the current supply situation.

If the government and NOC keep silent at ensuring supply of petroleum products, they said they have left with no option than to stop taking order and buying petro-products from June 21. “The last option with us would be shutting down petrol pumps. We have decided to shut down all the petrol stations across the country from June 23 for an indefinite period,” they said.

NOC hiked the petroleum prices in the range of nine to 28 per cent on June 9 to cope with mounting losses. With this HIKE, increased-price weightage has been borne by the consumers only, whereas the government, dealers and NOC should have borne the weightage of increased-price equally.

The dealers have always been enjoying their profits and consumers are left high and dry. Thus, consumers think the ‘protest drama’ is yet another stunt to mislead the public. “The NOC has fixed the price of per litre of petrol at Rs 100 but NPDA fixed it at Rs 100.50 the very next day,” complained Suman Parajuli of Bagbazar.

Similarly, NOC has fixed per litre diesel at Rs 70, kerosene at Rs 65 and cooking gas at Rs 1200 a cylinder for the Kathmandu Valley. However, the NPDA — defying the government rate — fixed their own retail prices the next day. According to them, per litre of diesel costs Rs 70.20 and kerosene costs Rs 65.30.