Dealers say gas shortage

Kathmandu, November 17:

Dealers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) conceded today that only the commoners are living with the shortage of LPG and there is no shortage of LPG for big commercial enterprises.

Speaking at an interaction programme organised by the Media Group Nepal, Sawarmal Aggrawal, president of the Nepal Gas Dealer’s Association, said, “We cannot break our contracts with star hotels.”

The supply of cooking gas has not increased despite the rise in the number of people using LPG, Aggrawal said, explaining the main reason behind the scarcity of cooking gas. He said that current supply of LPG only met 50 per cent of the demand in the market.

This is happening because of weakness on the part of the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), Aggrawal said. Digambar Jha, acting director of the NOC, said that weak policies, lack of regulation, the strike organised by the Nepal Gas Dealer’s Association and the uncooperative attitude of various parties was to blame for the critical shortage of gas in the market.

The NOC has initiated many changes in its management and the situation will improve shortly, Jha said. He said that new regulations regarding gas were being prepared. The NOC had also appealed to the private sector to be involved in manufacturing gas, he said. The effort to sell gas to businesses and ordinary consumers at varying rates is underway, the NOC official said.

President of the Nepal Consumers Forum, Prem Lal Maharjan, said the price of gas should be different for normal consumers and businesses. He accused the political parties of manipulating gas prices by keeping their political gains and losses in mind.

Apsara Koirala, president of the Nepal Women and Children Consumers’ Forum, said women will be forced to go on strike with empty cylinders if the government does not sort out the problem of gas shortage. Kuber Shrestha, a representative of the civil society, accused the government, NOC and gas dealers of playing games with the consumers.