Undue pressure

Jul 5, 2017
It is frustrating to hear that the petro dealers association has warned that it will continue its protest and will not collect petroleum products from Nepal Oil Corporation depots if it does not find government report on “technical loss” of the petroleum products convincing. The Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology has been assigned to look into the claim of the Bagmati Petroleum Dealers’ Association that a dealer has to incur loss of 99 litres while purchasing per 4,000 litres of petroleum products from NOC depots. The petroleum dealers are demanding the loss commission from the state-owned fuel monopoly. The association has submitted a memorandum to the government seeking a hike in loss commission while ferrying the petroleum products from various NOC depots. The association distributes fuels to as many as 300 petrol stations across the country. Following the demand of the petro dealers association, the NOC has formed a committee under the coordination of Director General of Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology (NBSM), Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, to find out the actual technical loss of fuel incurred by the dealers. The committee is all set to submit its report within a week.
The probe committee has found that the petro dealers have “highly inflated” the claim of technical loss during transportation of the petroleum products. Such a claim could widen the dispute between the NOC and the petro dealers who have already warned that they would stop collecting the petroleum products if the government report is inconsistent with their claim. They have also threatened to halt the purchase of the petroleum products unless their demand is met. As of now, the NOC has been allowing deduction of 35 litres of petrol and 26 litres of diesel on every 4,000 litres of fuels purchased by the dealers from NOC depots. On the other hand, the NOC has already stated that it would adjust the technical loss commission for the dealers as per the recommendation of the NBSM report.
The petro dealers association has given the NOC an ultimatum until July 17 to increase the technical loss commission of fuel from a range of 66 litres to 99 litres on every 4,000 litres of the fuel. The NBSM had studied the fuel supply data from mid-April to mid-May to determine the actual loss of fuel incurred by the dealers. During the course of the study, the committee found that the dealers had been receiving lesser amount of fuel than filled in the NOC depots. This was mainly because of faulty calibration of oil tankers, and fluctuations of temperature also affected the supply amount. And, such technical loss generally takes pace during the summer. In order to determine the actual technical loss of fuel at the time of transportation NBSM has stressed on conducting a study throughout the year. However, what can be said is that the petro dealers association must accept the findings and recommendations of a competent government authority. The petro dealers deserve due compensation for the loss of fuel from the NOC depots to the petrol pumps. But they have no right to squeeze the NOC to increase the amount of loss commission putting the fuel supply at risk.
Get service back
It is not the first time that any unit in a government hospital, and in the present case, the country’s oldest and premier hospital has closed its services for lack of resources. Unfortunately, it may not be the last time. Bir Hospital has closed its surgical treatment of cardiovascular diseases and other related services on the grounds that it lacks the budget to buy modern technology to conduct surgery, to set up adequate infrastructure and to hire enough personnel. Instead, the unit has started referring its cardiovascular patients to Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre, which is also run with taxpayers’ money.
The way they have been running the state-run hospitals do not provide high hopes that things will change for the better from now on. The Gangalal hospital is already under heavy pressure of patients, as heart disease continues to increase and it has become a referral hospital for heart disease from around the country. The authorities concerned should immediately act to get the services back on track by resolving these problems. It should also be examined whether Bir Hospital is being run efficiently and effectively, otherwise any money poured into it might be like water poured on a mound of sand.
The Himalayan Times, July 5, 2017

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