Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing
Fuel transporters with Bhutan Oil Distributors (BOD) have resumed work from May 18 evening after the company raised the transportation rate to Nu 5.5 per kiloliter (KL) per kilometre (km).
Following the recent increase of fuel prices, about 30 transporters asked a hike. They stopped working on May 16 when their demand was not met.
The raise to Nu 5.5, a slightly lower than their demand of Nu 6 was provided by the BOD as an interim measure.
Prior to this increase, truckers were paid Nu 4.44. This, transporters said, was as per the 2016 revision when the price of diesel was Nu 50 a litre.
From midnight of May 16, a litre of diesel reached Nu 109.67 in Phuentsholing, an increase by more than Nu 2.
On May 1, when the diesel price increased by Nu 7 per litre, transporters had submitted to the BOD that they will not work. However, the company had assured them there would be some change by May 16 and transporters resumed work. When there was nothing, transporters stopped the work on May 16.
Zeko Tshering from Peldruk Transport said Nu 5.5 is an interim hike.
“They told us that the hike from the trade office has not been decided. So they gave us Nu 5.5 as interim,” he said, adding that loading started from May 18 evening.
A trucker said that the new rate would not make much difference as the expenses are higher than what it was three years ago.
“If mechanical work and expenditure was like before, this rate would work for us,” he said. “But today, everything has increased due to inflation.”
Before, he said a pair of tyres was Nu 26,500 but today it is Nu 35,000 to Nu 36,000.
A small mechanical repair that cost Nu 600 earlier is now Nu 2,500.
“And there is driver payment,” he said.