The Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), that has to monitor petrol pumps and punish those operating against standards, itself has been found to be cheating in volume while selling fuel.
Joint monitoring by consumer rights activists, entrepreneurs and the Bureau of Standards and Metrology at NOC’s Amlekhgunj Depot has found the cheating. The team revealed that there was 324 liters less fuel in 12,000 liters. The direct impact of negligence by NOC is transferred to the consumers through gas stations. The National Consumers Forum drew attention of Chief Secretary Lila Mani Poudel on Wednesday and demanded immediate action stating that the consumers have been hit hard and there is black-marketing. Consumers have to pay more than the actual price due to managerial weakness of NOC and use of traditional system of measurement. NOC has been charging Rs 1.05 per liter from consumers in the name of technical loss through thefts and leakages. “It is a crime to cheat the consumers by providing less fuel than the quantity they pay for due to managerial weaknesses and irresponsibility of the staffers of NOC. A bigger problem may arise in the coming days if such big irregularities are ignored today,” President of the forum Prem Lal Maharjan stated. Monitoring by the Department of Commerce and Supplies has repeatedly found the petrol pumps to be cheating consumers in volume while selling fuel.
NOC Spokesperson Mukunda Prasad Ghimire said there have been some complaints about calibration in recent times. “We have already initiated the process to address the problems seen in calibration. We have coordinated with the bureau and district administration,” he added. Stating that he is not aware about the difference of up to 324 liters in 12,000 liters he claimed that the problem will not be repeated as the calibration system is going to be managed soon.
Petroleum products are distributed to Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Makwanpur, Chitwan, Kathmandu, Sarlahi, Dhanusha and a few eastern and western districts from the Amlekhgunj Depot. It has been found that regular calibration of underground and overhead tanks and tankers has not been done in the depot. The complaint field with chief secretary Poudel claims that the petrol pumps themselves get 50 liters less in every 3,000 liters procured from the depot. A team of the bureau has said that 1,350 milliliters less fuel has been found in every 500 liters during calibration. The forum concludes that black-marketing has started from NOC’s depot. “It is condemnable that such crime has been committed by officials, technicians and staffers of NOC,” the complaint states.
NOC, whose loss has fallen now, could not supply fuel as per demand during the current month. Problem has compounded as NOC, that has been suffering a monthly loss of over Rs 1 billion, has failed to increase stock when losses have fallen.
Losses rise by four times
NOC is set to suffer loss of Rs 531 million in the month of July, as per the price list sent by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) on Tuesday. It was Rs 120 million in June. International price of petrol and diesel has increased as the international fuel and currency markets have been affected due to the crisis in Iraq. International price of petrol has risen by over US$ 4 per barrel. The loss of NOC will increase by over four times in a month due to the rise in international petroleum price and appreciation of US dollar.
NOC will suffer the highest loss of Rs 589 in every cylinder of cooking gas and Rs 3.28 in a liter of diesel. It will make profit of Rs 6.36 in every liter of petrol, Rs 13.63 in kerosene, and Rs 38.79 and Rs 46 in aviation fuel for internal and international airline companies respectively. NOC had a profit of Rs 10 in petrol, 42 paisa in diesel, Rs 13.88 in kerosene, and Rs 39 and Rs 46 in aviation fuel for internal and international airline companies respectively in June.