The government has lifted the ban on the import of HP gas cylinders going against the recommendation of a committee of experts it had hired to probe the incident of gas cylinder explosion last month in Lalitpur that killed three people.
The Ministry of Supplies (MoS)–which had banned the import of HP Gas last week after the probe committee blamed the poor quality of cylinders for the explosion–lifted the ban saying that the probe committee’s report did not define the defects in HP Gas cylinders in concrete terms. The ministry has also cited the bottlers’ willingness to provide Rs 4 million as compensation, to be divided among the families of the deceased, as the justification for lifting the ban.
“The report of the probe committee does not state the fault of the cylinder in the Lalitpur cooking gas explosion. Similarly, bottlers have agreed to compensate the victim’s family with Rs 4 million,” Mukunda Ghimire, spokesperson of Nepal Oil Corporation said, adding, “Following these developments, the government, has decided to lift the ban on the import of HP Gas.”
MoS earlier had suspended the product delivery order (PDO) for HP Gas.
The report of the probe committee of the government had clearly mentioned that many details of the exploded HP Gas cylinder and its quality could not be traced and further expert inquiry may be required to arrive at a definite conclusion.
This decision also means that the government has bowed against the pressure from the bottlers, who had stopped collecting PDO from NOC from Tuesday in response to the government’s decision to suspend PDO for HP Gas.
Weak laws and government’s unwillingness to take any action had emboldened the gas bottling companies in the country to unlawfully halt the import of cooking gas, an essential commodity.
They had declared to indefinitely stop collecting PDO from the state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) from Tuesday. PDO is a document needed for importing cooking gas from India.
Essential Services Operation Act, 2014, states that no one shall disrupt the supply of essential consumer goods or services by exercising a monopoly or through any other means. But the LPG bottlers have challenged the government by trying to halt the supply of the cooking gas.