Rautahat, March 15
Despite the smooth supply of fuel, petrol pump entrepreneurs and dealers of LPG cylinders have been charging customers arbitrarily for the last few months in Rautahat.
Local fuel entrepreneurs have been accused of fleecing customers after creating artificial shortage of fuel.
The rampant black-marketing of fuel has been attributed to lack of market monitoring on the part of the local administration.
Customers complained that Nepal Oil Corporation’s Amlekhgunj depot had sent sufficient diesel and petrol to Rautahat-based petrol pumps, but the local pump operators distributed limited fuel and sold the remaining fuel at inflated prices.
Shiva Raj Sah, in charge of Gaur-based night bus counter, said transport entrepreneurs were compelled to pay extra Rs 10 per litre even at authorised fuel stations.
“The entrepreneurs have been facing problems as pump owners do not provide fuel easily even though the supply of fuel has normalised,” he added.
He accused the pump operators of creating artificial fuel shortage in the market.
Umesh Chaudhary, technical assistant at Matsari VDC, said the fuel stations at Gaur, Gangapipara, Shivanagar, Sukdev Chowk, Dumariya, Garuda and Chandranigahapur, among other places, were distributing limited fuel to customers.
“The pump operators keep the remaining fuel for black-marketing,” he said.
“Farmers, entrepreneurs and small vehicle owners are compelled to buy fuel at high price,” he informed. He further accused different gas dealers of charging customers arbitrarily.
“The black-marketers are motivated as the concerned authority has turned a deaf ear to the matter,” he said.
Local Dipesh Sahani of Gaur Municipality said gas dealers were charging customers up to Rs 2,000 per cylinder in the district headquarters Gaur.
“The administration, however, acts indifferently towards the situation though black-marketing is being done openly in the district,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rautahat Chief District Officer Nara Hari Baral said fuel supply in the district was inadequate to meet the demand.
“We have already warned the dealers that stern action will be taken if they are found involved in black-marketing,” he informed.
CDO Baral said his office would soon conduct market monitoring and action would be taken against black-marketeers.
“We have already sent a letter to the NOC asking them to supply LPG and fuel as per the demand,” he added.
Petrol pumps distributing gas
RAUTAHAT: It is learnt that Matsari-based Manakamana Oil Stores has been selling LPG gas cylinders from the petrol pump itself in Rautahat district.
As many as 70 cylinders were sold from the pump on Tuesday. Local Shyam Chandra Jha said that it was very risky to sell gas cylinders from the petrol pump.
“It is likely that a big accident might take place at any time,” he added. He said they were quite surprised why the concerned authority was mum regarding public safety.
Meanwhile, pump operator Ghanashyam Sah Kanu said he was selling the LPG cylinders from the petrol pump for want of space.
“I have been selling cylinders from the pump for more than a year now,” he said, adding that he was searching for an appropriate to establish a dealer.
A version of this article appears in print on March 16, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.