Dhading locals prevent gas shipments to Valley

- Harihar Singh Rathore, Dhading

Oct 30, 2015-

Locals outraged by a prolonged shortage of cooking gas have camped outside the Kathmandu Metro bottling plant at Thakre, Mahadevsthan and prevented shipments to Kathmandu. They have staked out the factory with empty cylinders, and stopped around 500 cylinders of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) about to be dispatched to the valley.

The irate crowd accused the company of not distributing cooking gas to the local population first. On Thursday morning, they also surrounded an LPG bullet tanker headed for the plant.

The factory is operated by state-owned Salt Trading Corporation. It has been permitted to import 20 LPG bullets monthly, and has been bottling 1,100 cylinders daily for delivery to high-level government officials, politicians, lawmakers and big hotels in Kat'hmandu.

Each month, the factory supplies 140,000 gas cylinders to the Capital and 80 cylinders to locals. The factory’s LPG bullet quota has been boosted sharply since the unofficial trade embargo imposed by India, locals said.

They added that they took the step of stopping shipments to Kathmandu after finding out that the factory had been sending large quantities of LPG to a casino at the Hotel Shangri La despite the severe local shortage. “We had requested the company to distribute one cylinder each to the 300 households in the area. But it refused and we were forced to halt the LPG supply to the Kathmandu valley,” said Dharma Rupakheti, a local entrepreneur.

“We have also requested the police not to provide escorting facilities to the company.” Rupakheti added that it was unfair that locals should be barred from getting cooking gas produced in the region when there was a fuel crisis.

There are 13 LPG plants on Prithvi Highway in Dhading district. After India’s unofficial blockade, Nepal Oil Corporation has issued purchase delivery orders to only three bottling plants. They used to send 16,000 cylinders daily to the Capital during normal times.

Published: 30-10-2015 08:53

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