LPG crisis forces closure of eateries

Kathmandu, August 5:

The shortage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in the market has made it difficult for fast food cafés and restaurants to run their businesses. Many of them have shut shop.

With the crisis persisting for several months and the supply of the LPG cut to 20 per cent of the demand, restaurants have been hit hard. Kathmandu Food Mart, Maitidevi, could not run the restaurant for the full day today and was closed in the afternoon due to the gas shortage.

According to Niranjan Karki, a staffer, the restaurant had been struggling with the shortage for the past few weeks. “If we can’t get the gas supply by tomorrow, we will be forced to close down,” he said.

Alina’s Bakery Café in New Baneshwor is going through the same crisis. Ramesh KC, in-charge of the café, said they were relying on electronic devices like heaters and microwave ovens to prepare food. They have stopped serving food items that consume time and more fuel.

He said the number of customers has also dwindled of late, as the cafe was forced to offer limited services due to fuel crisis. “We cannot manage it for long like this,” he said.

Some restaurants are using charcoal, while others have cut down the menu. Still others are running the business only for half a day. Even many college canteens in the Valley have already been closed.

Ultimately, general people remain at the centre of the problem. Bibek Subedi of Kathford College, who was searching for a restaurant to eat something, said, “I finally found one, but they said they could only serve Bhatmas-Chiura or any cooked items.”

Gyaneshwor Aryal, the general secretary of Nepal Gas Dealers’ Association, said the situation was really grim as the import was merely 20 per cent of the total demand.

There are around 7,000 gas depots in the valley and they are getting a supply of only 15 to 20 cylinders in every two to three days, according to him.

In most of the depots, about 300 cylinders were in queue, Aryal said, adding that there were no signs of improvement in cooking gas supply for many days to come.