Oct 16, 2015- A black market in cooking gas has emerged along the Prithvi Highway in Dhading with hotels and restaurants being forced to pay double due to an extreme scarcity created by the blockade by India.
LPG brought from Jhapa and other districts adjoining India are being delivered to the hotels and restaurants here by night buses. A restaurant owner in Malekhu said he bought cooking gas by paying Rs6,000 per cylinder. The usual price for a cylinder of the fuel is Rs3,600. Night buses charge Rs4,500 for the LPG and Rs1,500 for transportation per cylinder, according to him.
Restaurant operators said that most night buses carry five to 10 cylinders each to sell to roadside restaurants. Dashain is the peak season for diners as traffic on the highways swell due to the mass migration for the festival.
Gas plants located on the Prithvi Highway have not received gas bullets for the past month due to the continuing banda imposed by Madhesi parties and the Indian embargo. There are 13 gas plants operating along the Prithvi Highway in Dhading district. They said that they had shipped 908,000 cylinders to dealers in Dhading and Kathmandu. The usual monthly requirement of gas of the plants here is 39 bullets.
Locals have complained that the cooking gas plants here have been shipping filled cylinders to Kathmandu despite claiming that they are out of stock. Before India imposed the blockade, these plants were dispatching filled gas cylinders in the night, according to locals.
Meanwhile, police have arrested the proprietors of two gasoline pumps here for selling fuel at night in violation of the oil distribution system imposed by the local administration after the Indian embargo. Dilip KC, owner of Baireni Fuel Centre, and Keshav Ghimire, owner of Amleshwor Oil, were kept in custody for four hours and released with a warning not to do it again.
Published on: The Kathmandu Post (Oct 16,2015)