Print Edition - 2015-03-15 | MONEY
Police to run LPG bottling plant
- Move aimed at boosting the govt’s supply capacity during crises
Mar 14, 2015-
The Nepal Police has decided to operate its own liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottling plant in a bid to increase the government’s supply capacity during crises. A meeting between the Police and state-owned suppliers -- Salt Trading and National Trading -- coordinated by Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudel on January 13 had decided to allow the security agency to run a gas bottling plant, according to Senior Superintendent of Police Laba Bista.
Given the trend of private sector gas plants and dealers creating artificial shortage of cooking gas, the government came to the conclusion that the police should be allowed to operate the plant.
The plant will be operated under the Welfare Fund of the Nepal Police, said Bista, who heads the Welfare Division of the Nepal Police. He said they have sent a proposal to state-owned fuel supplier Nepal Oil Corporation seeking its permission.
The targeted customers of the plant would be Nepal Police personnel and the general public inside the Kathmandu valley. “Once the production begins, police personnel will get the gas at a subsidised rate.”
Bista said they would conduct a detail feasibility study once the approval is granted. “For now, we see Dhading and Kavre the best sites to set up the plant,” said Bista.
The Post’s repeated attempts to contact NOC Managing Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka were unsuccessful.
LPG cylinder has suddenly become the most sought-after commodity in the Kathmandu valley. Last month, hundreds of people were seen standing outside retail shops to get cylinders. The shortage has triggered spontaneous protests across the country, including in the Kathmandu valley.
“The government has realised the state supply mechanism needs to be strengthened following the four-month cooking gas shortage in the country,” said an official at the Ministry of the Commerce and Supply. “The shortage still persists.”
NOC blames the private bottling plants do not cooperate to ease the supply despite adequate imports. It says the shortage is a result of rampant black-marketing and hoarding.
Consumers are being forced to buy new cylinders at more than Rs 5,000 each as traders refuse to exchange empty cylinders for a full one. Refilling an LPG cylinder costs Rs 1,470.
The government in January was even forced to sell the cooking gas through National Trading after the general people continued to suffer.
There are 55 LPG bottlers in the country, out of which 20 are based in the valley.
There are more than 108 petrol pumps in the valley, including 11 run by government entities like the police, army and Sajha.
Published: 15-03-2015 08:55