Bottlers of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) called off their protest on Monday after they reached an agreement with Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC). The two sides have agreed to first form a study committee to ascertain the actual market demand and determine whether a hike in the LPG quota is required.
The bottlers had been holding the protest demanding a hike in the LPG quota for the last two weeks, creating an artificial shortage of LPG cylinders in the market. They had stopped taking purchase delivery orders since Sunday.
Shiva Prasad Ghimire, president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association, confirmed they withdrew their protests after the agreement. As per the agreement, the proposed six-member study team will be led by Deepak Pandey, under-secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supply and represented by three individuals from NOC and two from the association.
NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire said the study will find out the actual LPG demand, the number of LPG users, the number of available cylinders, total capacity of the refilling plants and their security compliance. The team will be asked to submit its report by mid-November. “The two sides have also agreed to maintain smooth LPG supply during the upcoming festivals,” said Ghimire, adding based on the present quota, the NOC will support the bottlers optimally utilise the quota.
Citing increased market demand, the bottlers had been pressuring NOC to increase the LPG quota to 30,000 tonnes per month from existing 22,377 tonnes. However, NOC had been refuting the bottlers’ claims stating they had been failing to utilise even the existing quota. According to the state-owned oil monopoly, the bottlers have been selling only 19,000 tonnes a month on an average. NOC Managing Director Chandika Prasad Bhatta said the bottlers agreed on making optimum utilisation of the present quota. “For the purpose, NOC will make suitable environment for the bottlers,” he said.