More Nepali households are turning to the induction cooker as an alternative to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) stove amid uncertainty over the end of unofficial trade embargo imposed by India on Nepal.
Unlike in the past, hoards of Nepali customers have been visiting the bordering Indian towns to buy induction cooker as an alternative to LPG stove as cooking gas crisis enters one and a half months. As a result, induction cookers and its utensils like pots and pans have been in high demand, accounting for over half of the imports made in the customs nowadays.
On an average, 200 electric cooktops enter Nepal daily from the Jogbani market in India alone. According to Kanchanpur Customs Office, people are importing 700-800 induction cookers and its component from the border point in the Far West. Prices of the induction cookers range from Rs 3,000-Rs 8,000 in the Indian market, depending on their quality.
“I bought induction cooker and its components at Rs 5,000. This electric cooker is energy efficient and is relatively cheaper to cook food compared to the LPG stove,” said Achyut Karki, a local of Madhumara in Biratnagar. “Now, I can cook food even if I did not get cooking gas,” he said.
Urmila Adhikari, a housewife in Kaseni, Morang, who had been forced to cook food for her family using cow dung for a week, is no more worried now. Adhikari had spent Rs 10,000 for induction cooker and its components like cooker and pan as an alternative to LPG stove. “If the government provides regular electricity, it will relieve the people bearing the brunt of the import blockade,” she said, while returning from Jogbani market last week. She said that a large section of Nepal’s population has now started to find alternatives due to the government’s inefficiency to ensure cooking fuel. Sales of such electric efficient stoves have soared dramatically in the Indian market. Not only in the boardering areas, its demand has also been on the rise in urban areas like Kathmandu and Pokhara, where most of the households are dependent on the LPG.
A local retailer at Jogbani market said that sales of induction cookers have rocketed from four a month before the trade blockade to more than 100 a day. There are around a dozen wholesale and retail shops selling electric stoves in the Jogbani area. Kanchanpur has also witnessed a sudden rise in the imports of induction cookers in the last two weeks. “There has been a dramatic rise in imports of induction cooker,” said Ram Prasad Regmi, chief of customs office in Kanchanpur. “I have never seen import of induction cookers from this border point before,” he said, adding that his office has been collecting more than Rs 1 million in revenue from the imports of such cookers.
Induction cookers and its utensils nowadays command half of the total imports through the customs, according to Regmi.
Junga Bahadur Malla, a local trader, said that they have been supplying induction cookers in the cities like Kathmandu, Pokhara and Butwal. “We are getting a huge demands for such cooking stoves from the city areas,” he said. Nearly 700 stoves are being supplied to Kathmandu and Pokhara daily. The soaring demand means Indian traders in the bording area have now started sourcing such items from faraway places. “Indian traders in the bording area have started placing orders for induction cookers from Delhi and Bareli to meet Nepal’s demand,” Malla added.
Source : The Kathmandu Post