KATHMANDU, April 2: After gathering dust for more than four years, induction stoves gifted by the Chinese government are flying off the shelves of Food Management and Trading Company Limited (FMTCL).
The sudden surge in sale has been attributed to short supply of liquefied petroleum (LP) gas due to the ongoing lockdown.
The state-owned trading company has only 748 units of stoves left as of Wednesday evening.
According to Sarmila Neupane Subedi, the spokesperson of FMTCL, sale of induction stoves increased significantly after the government enforced nationwide lockdown which affected supplies of daily essentials including LP gas. “We are selling 500-600 units of induction stoves in a day which is significantly higher compared to a normal day,” she said, adding: “We sold 742 units from our five sales outlets on Wednesday alone.”
The FMTCL has been selling induction stoves as well as other daily essentials from its sales outlets at Nakkhu, Thapathali, Lagankhel, Bhaktapur and Ram Shah Path. It is priced at Rs 4,000.
Initially, the trading company had fixed the price at Rs 12,000 per unit. However, it was gradually lowered to Rs 4,000 after the product failed to attract buyers. The FMTCL is also giving a steel pan free with each purchase.
The induction stoves were gifted by the Chinese government during the Indian blockade when the country shortage acute shortage of petroleum products including LP gas. The government had authorized National Trading Limited to sell the stoves. National Trading Limited later merged with Nepal Food Corporation to form the FMTCL.
Of late, the government has been urging people to shift to induction stoves to reduce the use of LP gas for cooking. To encourage the use of induction stoves, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), on the direction for the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, has already announced to provide 20% discount on energy tariff to users consuming up to 150 units per month.
Due to fear of transmission of the corona virus (COVID-19), the Indian government has announced the lockdown of the country for 21 days. Though the Indian government has assured that supply of essential goods will not be affected, the market is seeing shortage of LP gas, among others.
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), meanwhile, has directed gas bottling companies to distribute half-filled cylinders to the consumers in a bid to ease the supply of cooking gas.
“We are getting a lot of queries regarding induction stoves. People are shifting to induction stoves for cooking which is a positive sign,” said Subedi. “As our stock of induction stoves is fast depleting, we are thinking of making fresh purchase. But we have not taken any decision yet.”
and people have started to adopt induction stove for cooking which is a positive sign,” said Subedi, “As we have very less stock of induction stoves and analyzing the demand in induction stoves we are thinking to stock up on induction stove. But we have not made it final.”
Meanwhile, the FMTCL is also planning to start online delivery of food stuffs.