ILAM, May 15: With petroleum products scarce due to strikes in the bordering Tarai districts, their black marketeering has thrived instantly, compelling consumers pay as much as Rs 250 per liter of petrol in the district headquarter and other parts of Ilam.
“The price shocked me. Petrol pumps here say they have no fuel, but a large number of outlets seem to have adequate stock.
[brak]And when I approached for fuel, they said I would need to pay Rs 250 per liter of petrol,” said Bhanu Ghimire, a local of Biblyante.
Going by the existing law, petroleum products are state-monopolized products and their prices are set by the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC). Currently, the retail rate of petrol set by NOC stands at Rs 120 per liter.
“How could the petty sellers get hold of petrol? Clearly, petrol pump operators are engaged in the foul play,” said Ghimire.
Local transporters too complained that the petrol pump operators have been supplying the fuel to the unauthorized sellers, charging higher prices themselves, and this has created a whole cycle of black marketeering.
Sadly, however, the district administration continued to remain mum and blind over the affair even as illicit traders continue to take advantage of the petrol pumps created scarcity and charge hefty prices from consumers like Ghimire.
“We are not aware of the black marketing. If people complained about it and tell us who is in the foul play we will instantly take action against the wrong doers,” said Baburam Khatiwada, Chief District Officer of Ilam.
Pralhad Chaudhary, proprietor of Pathibhara Enterprises -a petrol pump operator- on the other hand denied any foul play. “We sell fuel to all the customers that approach us for the supply. We don´t charge more for the supply and if some of the buyers resell the product at higher rate I cannot do anything,” Chaudhary said.