Minister plays pro-poor card with ration card sop

Kathmandu, October 24:

Minister for Commerce and Supplies Rajendra Mahato said today that the government was planning to introduce ration cards to ensure a smooth distribution of Liquefied Petroleum Gas and kerosene to low-income families and students. He said the scheme was on the government’s priority list.

“With frequent fluctuations in fuel prices in the international market, low-income people are finding it difficult to buy petroleum products. The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies is making preparations to categorise people based on their income and provide subsidies to them,” Mahato told this daily. He said subsidy would be given on one cylinder of cooking gas to each family and for 10 litres of kerosene a month in cities and five litres in villages.

He said the government will adjust fuel prices keeping in view international crude prices.

“The government has lent Rs 16 billion of loan to the Nepal Oil Corporation to purchase petroleum products. The NOC is incurring a loss of up to Rs 1.5 billion per month,” he said.

Meanwhile, a group of CA members from the Nepali Congress today handed a memorandum to Mahato, demanding that the government ensure smooth supply of essentials and fuel in the run-up to Tihar. Nabindra Raj Joshi, Dhan Raj Gurung, Ganesh Bahadur Khadka, Dev Raj Joshi, Maha Nepali, Rama Guragain, Kiran Yadav, Laxmi Pariyar and Ishwari Neupane had gone to the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies to draw the government’s attention to the shortage of goods.

The CA members said the minister pledged to take steps to monitor the market and control prices.