The market is once again reeling under the shortage of petroleum products including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
Such scarcity is bedevilling Nepali consumers at a time when oil price has nosedived in the international market. So, the prevailing shortage is ironic. It does not take a rocket scientist to say so.
According to the state-run Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), it could not supply enough gas due to repairs of the Barauni depot of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
It has been more than two weeks that such maintenance has been completed. But, strangely, the gas shortage continues to persist. The NOC officials were aware of that any halt in the supply would invite unwarranted market turmoil. Nevertheless, they as usual showed sloppiness in arranging alternative supply. And, the predatory LPG holders and retailers were prompted to create artificial shortage to pocket hefty profits.
They are foxily hoarding thousands of filled gas cylinders by serving only a few great-paying clients.
A few months ago, the LPG traders had launched protests demanding a rise in their quota. They had even created artificial shortage of gas to pressurize the government. And the same ugly strategy is being adopted now. As the gas dealers are not using their existing quota totally, their demand for increasing it is dubious.
In its response to customers’ grievance regarding the cooking gas shortage, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) also asked the concerned officials to justify the crisis.
Though they told the CIAA on January 2 to smoothen the supply within a week, the same is not happening.
The government tends to bow down to unethical and illegal pressure from the hoarders and black marketers.
It recently surrendered to the syndicate of petroleum dealers by letting some 88 tankers and four petrol pumps go scot free.
The NOC had imposed a three- month long ban on them from carrying our transactions as they were indulged in oil theft.
The concerned authorities have chronically failed to keep tab on predatory traders.
So, they are easily stooping themselves to the extent of openly looting the people.
Cartels and syndicates have become so powerful that they are nakedly mocking consumer’s rights. Unfortunately, the government has often become just a mute spectator of such shenanigans.