Once there was hope, now there is only despair and desolation

Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

If the pump mechanic and electrician from India arrive soon, the final work of the long-delayed fuel depot at Autsho, Lhuentse, could start any time, according to Druk Petroleum Corporation Limited (DPCL) officials.

However, DPCL officials said the two technicians who have been approved by the labour  ministry could arrive only by the end of this month.

Manager of DPCL’S Gyalpoizhing depot, Ngedup Dorji, who monitors the construction said, almost all the civil works including the office building, canopy structure, and underground fuel tank are completed. “More than 95 percent of the work is finished and we are only waiting for technical persons from India to give the finishing touch,” he said.

The construction of the depot began in October 2019. However, it was stopped in March 2020 due to the pandemic and resumed in August 2021.

After the fuel depot at Jachung, about two kilometres away from Autsho towards Lhuentse was gutted by fire in 2018 it continued dispensing only diesel manually.

Unlike the old depot, where the fuel was served from the barrel, the new depot will have an underground fuel tank with a carrying capacity of 20,000 litres each for petrol and diesel. The depot will have four staff including the manager.

In the absence of a fuel depot in the town, motorists drive all the way to the fuel depots in Lhuentse or Mongar, 40 and 35 kilometres away.

Autsho residents said that a litre of petrol cost Nu 120 from an illegal seller around Autsho and the operation of the depot would benefit them immensely.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited funds and executes the fuel depot construction work.