Operation of Nepali LPG bullets in limbo

Kathmandu, June 22

The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) of India has refused to issue ‘Explosive Certificate’ to Nepali liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bullets, hindering the government’s plan to substitute Indian LPG bullets to supply cooking gas to the country.

Despite repeated appeal from the Ministry of Supplies (MoS), Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and Nepali LPG industry, PESO had refused to issue such certificates to Nepali bullets citing that it can issue explosive certificates only to Indian LPG bullets.

Explosive certificate is a mandatory document that the Indian fuel refineries seek while providing petroleum loads to fuel tankers.

“The chief of PESO recently said that laws in India do not allow the institution to issue explosive certificate to gas

bullets that operate in a foreign country,” Shiva Ghimire, president of Nepal Gas Industry Association said, adding that this has hindered Nepali number-plated LPG bullets to start supplying cooking gas in the domestic market.

The government had adopted a policy in 2015 to substitute Indian LPG bullets with Nepali LPG bullets and had announced two-third customs waiver facilities on import of LPG bullets for domestic traders in the fiscal budget for 2015-16. Subsequently, domestic gas bottlers had started placing order for LPG bullets through Indian fabricators.

As of today, almost 400 LPG bullets of Nepali traders have been manufactured in India and are awaiting explosive certificate from Indian authorities.

“It has been almost six months since domestic LPG traders have been facing problems due to non-issuance of explosive certificates by PESO. However, government, including MoS and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), does not seem to be serious in addressing this issue,” Ghimire claimed.

Reminding the government that Nepali LPG bottlers have signed an agreement with Indian transporters to allow Indian LPG bullets to supply cooking gas for Nepal only up to November 17, Ghimire warned that delay in resolving the explosive certificate issuance could interrupt the regular supply of cooking gas in the domestic market after the given date.

Meanwhile, Deepak Baral, LPG director of NOC, expressed surprise that the PESO is not issuing explosive certificate to Nepali LPG bullets as it has been issuing such certificates for petrol and diesel carrying tankers without any issues.

“We have already urged the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to facilitate the issuance of explosive certificate to Nepali LPG bullets. However, IOC has remained mum on this issue hinting that some other forces are involved in denying explosive certificates to Nepali LPG bullets,” Baral said.

Moreover, Baral also informed that the Indian government has been urged through Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to facilitate the issue. “The issues of substituting Indian LPG bullets and halt in issuing explosive certificate to Nepali LPG bullets have to be resolved from the government level,” he added.