Gas bottlers warn of protest

Published On: February 21, 2019 05:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Asks govt to raise dealers' commission, waive off taxes levied by local units

KATHMANDU, Feb 21: Gas bottlers have threatened to launch series of protest programs if the government continued to turn deaf ears toward their demands.

Organizing a press meet in Kathmandu on Wednesday, officials of Nepal LP Gas Industries Association said that they would go to the extent of bringing supplies of liquefied petroleum (LP) gas to a grinding halt if their demands are not addressed. They have given the government until February 28 to address their demands. "The government will have to be responsible for the consequences," they added.

Among others, the association has been putting pressure on the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) -- the state-owned petroleum monopolist -- to increase commission of gas dealers.

Gokul Bhandari, president of the association, told mediapersons that the association submitted a charter of demands to Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies last year itself. "Accordingly, the ministry formed a six-member sub-committee on September 23, 2018 to study our demands and recommend measures to address them," Bhandari said in the press meet. "The committee was given a 45-day timeframe to complete it works. But nothing has been done over these months to address our demands."

According to Bhandari, the association will start protest from March 1 and stop supplying gas from March 14.

The association submitted 10-point memorandum to the NOC on Tuesday.

"We have requested the government to increase commission of dealers which has remained unchanged for the past six years. Price of everyday goods has increased manifolds over these years. But out demand has fallen on deaf ears," Bhandari said.

At present, gas dealers get Rs 28 per cylinder as commission, according to the association.

The association has also demanded that the government waive local tax for gas industries or make consumers pay for it. "Local units are levying different taxes on gas bottlers. The decision has increased out cost of production. The government must look into the issue," he added.

Among others, the gas bottlers have asked the government to control unauthorized gas bottlers and revise price of LP gas in Tarai belt.

Meanwhile, the sub-committee formed in September last year held a meeting on Wednesday evening after gas bottlers published their protest schedule. "The sub-committee is looking into the issue. It took longer time as it is analyzing all the demands put forth by the gas industries," NOC Spokesperson Birendra Goit.

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