Kathmandu, September 8 The lack of urgency shown by the government in resolving issuance of ‘non-explosive licences’ to Nepali gas bullets is likely to hit the supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)in the near future. “It has been more than three months since we raised this issue — that the Indian authorities are refusing to grant the non-explosive certificates to Nepali gas bullets. But our pleas to the government to resolve this matter have fallen on deaf ears,” said Shiva Prasad Ghimire, immediate past president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association (NLPGIA). According to him, around 60 LPG bullets with Nepali number plates that were manufactured in India are awaiting such certificates to enter into fuel trade. The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation of India (PESO), formerly known as Department of Explosives, is the authorised Indian body to issue such licences to Nepali LPG bullets. A non-explosive certificate is a mandatory document at oil refineries of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to get loading of petroleum products, including LPG. “The longer this issue remains unresolved, the greater the risk of LPG supply disruption and chances of domestic gas companies seeing their investment of almost Rs five billion that they injected to manufacture gas bullets go down the drain,” Ghimire said. Nepali gas bottlers and Indian transporters, who are currently supplying LPG to Nepal, have principally agreed that Nepali gas bullets will gradually substitute current Indian gas bullets to supply cooking gas to Nepal from November 17. With the deadline hardly two months away, domestic LPG bottlers had recently warned the government of possible shortage of cooking gas if Nepali bullets are not issued required licences on time. As a last resort to put pressure on the government, the NLPGIA today threatened to stop collection and supply of LPG in the domestic market from September 17 if their gas bullets do not get the non-explosive certificates within one week. A year ago, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) had authorised Nepali gas companies to procure 775 gas bullets as per the government’s vision to substitute Indian LPG bullets that are supplying cooking gas to Nepal since decades. A complete substitution of Indian gas bullets is expected to be a boon for domestic economy as it will retain almost Rs three billion that Indian transporters have been taking away annually. Similarly, a sub-committee under the Parliamentary Committee on Commerce, Industry and Consumer Welfare Relation today also criticised the government for not facilitating gas bottlers. Meanwhile, NOC and Ministry of Supplies (MoS) are busy passing the buck. While NOC said that it had written to MoS and the IOC to resolve the licensing issue, MoS officials said that it has repeatedly urged Indian authorities via Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to resolve the issue. “As the Indian authorities seem reluctant to respond properly to NOC and MoS on this issue, perhaps a government-to-government level talk is warranted,” said Gopal Bahadur Khadka, executive director of NOC.
Unresolved ‘non-explosive licence’ issue may hit LPG supply
Published: 04:42 am Sep 09, 2017