KATHMANDU, April 24: Consumers will finally start receiving Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Customer Card, which will entitle them to regularly supply of popular cooking fuel, from coming Sunday.
Though the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), which first distributed the card to Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai on April 17, had announced to start distribution immediately, it faced troubles in fulfilling its commitment after LPG retailers dragged feet to comply with it directives.
Under the directives, MoCS had announced that it would ban sales of LPG from grocery and other mixed retailing outlets, and urged the gas dealers to separately register firms and open exclusive outlets to retail LPG within a month. The retailers, however, had protested the decision, saying that it will inflict additional cost on them.
But with the deadline approaching near, some 1,700 firms have formally eagerness to operate exclusive outlets for retailing liquefied petroleum gas in the Kathmandu Valley by Sunday. “We anticipate more firms to join in by Saturday, when the deadline is expiring,” said Gyaneshwar Aryal, former president of LPG Retailers Federation.
As the registration of independent LPG retailing entity has finally paved the way for the implementation of the customer card, officials of LPG Retailers´ Federation they will be starting distribution of cards from Sunday.
“LPG consumers will need to contact their nearby dealers. As most of the dealers already have the names of their customers, they will readily issue the card,” said Aryal.
The Federation, which has been entrusted the responsibility of distributing customer cards, expects a total of 2,000 LPG retailing firms to register themselves with it for distribution of the cards by coming Sunday.
Nepal Oil Corporation has announced that it has readied 4 million customer cards in a bid to regulate LPG distribution and supplies. Of that, 2.5 million cards of red color will be issued to household consumers, while remaining 1.5 million blue colored cards will be distributed to commercial users.
All LPG consumers will eventually need to possess a card to get hold of LPG. The government has also announced that it may introduce dual pricing - higher prices for commercial users and subsidized supply to general public - on the basis of the card.
Though concerned NOC officials and experts are skeptic over the plan yielding desired result of cut in loss, which presently stands around Rs 1 billion a month from LPG trade, officials said issuance of cards will enable them ascertain true volume of household consumers and regulate supplies accordingly.