Kathmandu, July 23:

Though the country has been facing a shortage of petroleum products for almost three

years, the government has not prioritised this issue, said Digamber Jha, general manager of Nepal Oil Corporation.

Jha said quantum of supply of petroleum products had always been less than the demand. According to him, monthly demand of petroleum products is 82,000 liters.

“Due to subsidy given in the import of petroleum products, NOC has been incurring loss. Unless NOC reaches the break-even point, it won’t be able to ensure a smooth supply of petroleum products,” he said.

He added that the corporation had proposed the government to hike aviation fuel prices and to supply petroleum products at cost price by imposing Value Added Tax. Revenue generated through this move could be used to give subsidies on kerosene and cooking gas to economically backward groups and students.

The government never thought of this, he said. “In the absence of Petroleum Act, things are getting complicated. If we had this act, we could have punished those who indulge in adulteration,” he said. Uttam Kumar Bhattarai, director-general of the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control, said, “A separate consumers’ court should be established to handle consumers’ complaints against sub-standard products.” “Decisions on such complaints get delayed because Chief District Officer handles such cases,” he said.

Bhattarai added that the government lacked a policy to control quality and regulate supply of essential goods.