Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has said that the plan to convert all existing liquefied petroleum (LP) gas brands into a single brand was ‘impractical and difficult to implement’.
At present, 55 brands of LP gas cylinders are in circulation in the market. Circulation of cylinders of a single brand by these bottlers will create havoc in the market as well as invite different anomalies, according to a senior NOC official.
Last week, Minister of Supplies Ganesh Man Pun told media persons that the government was preparing to distribute LP gas of single brand throughout the country in order to end the malpractices due to availability of multiple brands in the market.
“It is not feasible to convert all existing LP gas brands into a single brand in the present context,” Sushil Bhattarai, deputy executive director of NOC, told Republica. “It will be difficult for us to regulate the market as we cannot identify the bottler of a particular cylinder. There is risk of bottlers compromising on quantity and quality,” he added.
Bhattarai, however, said encouraging bottlers to undergo merger could be a good option to reduce the number of bottlers. “We don’t have any national player which has nationwide distribution network,” Bhattarai said. “The need of the hour is to reduce the number of brands and expand distribution network of bottlers.”
He also said the government should give priority to improve supply of LP gas in the market.
Shiva Ghimire, president of Nepal LP Gas Industry Association, said that the idea to develop a single LP gas brand is not scientific. “It is not possible to create a single LP gas brand and force bottlers to undergo merger,” Ghimire said, adding, “Any decision on the issue without conducting necessary homework will only affect distribution of the popular cooking fuel.”