Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

The spillage from a bitumen plant in Khareyphu, Phuentsholing, which trapped and harmed domestic animals in March this year, has still not shifted.

Dogs are getting trapped in the bitumen tar and people are calling for immediate action.

The temporary bitumen plant belongs to a contractor who has blacktopping works within Phuentsholing Thromde. In March this year, the bitumen spilled from the drums due to heat and trapped cattle and goats. Pictures and videos of people trying to remove the distressed animals from the tar were also circulated among people.

Unlike in March, however, most of the spillage has been covered by sand and gravel. But the leftover tar is trapping dogs.

On the morning of May 30, a jogger, Jigme, saw dogs suffering around the site.

“I was disturbed by the sight,” he said. “I am not against the thromde or the contractor but a little effort from them would save these animals from such unnecessary suffering.”

At the site yesterday, there were dogs covered with bitumen patches.

A resident said people helped the cattle and the goats earlier in March.

“We took out four cows and three goats from the tar,” he said.

He said many dogs have been stuck in the tar, adding that he used diesel to rescue them. Dogs were also handed over to the thromde, he added.

Meanwhile, the environment officer with Phuentsholing Thromde, Lhendup, said the bitumen plant is non-operational.

“Thromde management completely stopped the operation of the plant right after the relaxation of Covid-19,” he said.

Lhendup said that the plant was given approval to expedite blacktopping works at Khareyphu and other thromde areas during lockdown. The thromde has now allotted a new land at Pasakha industrial estate for relocation. However, the plant will be shifted only after lease formality is completed.

At the Khareyphu site, Lhendup said a caretaker was guarding the bitumen plant. “We even informed the residents that it’s their responsibility not to set animals free.”