Home National GOVT STILL ALLOWING BIRAT TO SELL FUEL AT ARBITRARY RATE

GOVT STILL ALLOWING BIRAT TO SELL FUEL AT ARBITRARY RATE

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KATHMANDU, March 11, 2016: The government has allowed Birat Petroleum to sell petrol at an arbitrary rate of Rs 130 per liter, although Nepal Oil Corporation’s own rate across the country is Rs 99 per liter and fuel supplies are slowly returning to normal.

Birat was on Thursday seen selling petrol openly at Rs 130 per liter through three petrol pumps. The company has been charging customers the higher rate on the ground that its petrol is of Euro-4 standard.

 However, officials of the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) say that Birat’s petrol is of the same quality as that imported by state-owned NOC.

Birat’s higher pricing has become possible as the government, which is responsible for controlling arbitrary prices, has allowed the private company to retail its petrol through fuel stations, which get their license from the government.

Birat has received permission from NOC to sell its petrol through Mali Petrol Pump at Kalimati, Jayanti Oil Store at Tripureswor and Valley Petrol Pump at Gairigaun.

Allowing Birat to sell its petrol through the petrol pumps is illegal as the Distribution Regulations and Petroleum Policy permit the petrol pumps to purchase fuel only from NOC, and not any other firm.

In the third week February, the company had applied to the Department of Supplies (DoS) to manage a distribution mechanism for 132 KL of petrol it had imported at Rs 155 per liter. This is the second time that Birat has imported petrol and sold it at a higher rate than NOC.

Earlier in January also, the company had imported almost 100KL of petrol and the government had allowed Birat to sell this at Rs 190 per liter through the petrol pumps.

However, senior officials at government bodies responsible for dealing with fuel matters do not, for reasons unknown, wish to come clear on issues related to Birat.

Officials at NOC say that though NOC has allowed Birat to  sell its oil though some pumps, NOC doesn’t have any role in fixing the private firm’s rates.

“The government, while allowing a private firm a temporary license to import fuel, has not mentioned who shall fix the rate for the fuel imported by it,” Mukunda Ghimire, NOC spokesperson said. “Birat has been setting its own rate,” Ghimire added.

Director General of the Department of Supplies (DoS) Gokul Dhital, said however that Birat’s petrol costs more as it is of a higher quality. This is at variance with the findings of NBSM,  which has already said that Birat petrol doesn’t differ in quality from petrol supplied by NOC. “We found that the quality of Birat’s petrol is of a higher range,” Dhital insisted to Republica, adding, “It is the responsibility of NOC to deal with issues related to Birat’s imports and pricing.”