• Bottlers refuse to import LPG

    Gas bottlers have been refusing to import liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) even though the government has agreed to their longstanding demand to be allowed to operate their own tankers because now they have another complaint. They say that a clause in the recently amended LP Gas Transport Bylaw 2017 is impractical because it requires them to sell their products in areas fixed by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC). Diwan Chand, general secretary of the Nepal LP Gas Industry Association, said they would not take purchase delivery orders (PDOs) from NOC until it revised the offending provision in the bylaw.

    “Most importers have their own bottling plants, so how can they sell the imported gas to others instead of distributing it from their own plants?” he said. The government has allowed 46 gas plants to import 775 bullet tankers. The use of own tankers is expected to save the country Rs2 billion annually in freight charges being paid to Indian transporters. NOC issues PDOs to gas importers who buy LPG from depots of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in India. Currently, Nepal’s imports of LPG are being shipped in Indian gas bullets.

    A month ago, Everest Gas Industry of Kathmandu acquired two gas bullet tankers, but it has not yet taken PDOs from NOC. According to the association, gas importers have placed orders for 300 gas bullets. “NOC’s provision has put their investment at risk of loss,” Chand said. Meanwhile, NOC claimed that the bylaw was not meant to discourage importers from bringing LPG in Nepali-owned bullet tankers. NOC Spokesperson Bhanubhakta Khanal said that the corporation would not enforce the provision when there is normal supply.

    “NOC has been authorised to intervene and invoke the provision only when there is a short supply of cooking gas in the market,” said Khanal, adding that the provision had been inserted in the bylaw to ensure regular supply of the essential cooking fuel. Khanal blamed the delay in importing cooking gas on bullet tanker owners who had not completed the official procedure necessary to transport the fuel. “The newly imported bullet tankers have not been certified by NOC technicians, and their owners have not obtained an explosives licence and road permit from Indian authorities.” Khanal said NOC was always open to holding talks with gas bottlers about the provisions in the bylaw. Charles Woodson Authentic Jersey

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