Neten Dorji | Doksum

The days of illegal fuel sales in Doksum are finally coming to an end, as the Druk Petroleum Corporation Limited (DPCL) nears completion of 70 percent of its work in the town of Trashiyangtse.

Strategically located about one kilometre from the new Doksum town along the Trashigang-Trashiyangtse highway, the fuel station now boasts expansive underground tanks, a crucial step towards ensuring the availability of legitimate diesel and petrol.

Nedup Dorji, manager of Druk Petroleum Corporation Limited (DPCL) overseeing the project, expressed his satisfaction with the progress, stating that over 70 percent of the work has been successfully accomplished and that the service would commence shortly.

“The project is nearly complete,” he said. “The only remaining aspect is the construction of the sales unit, which must adhere to the design and regulations prescribed by the dzongkhag administration.”

The establishment of this depot holds immense promise for the region. With eight gewogs and the potential rise in population and vehicle numbers expected from the Kholongchu project, the fuel station is poised to benefit not only the residents of Doksum but also those from Bartsham and other travelers passing through.

However, it is important to note that the construction of the depot, spread across a 50-decimal area, has encountered significant delays over the past six years.

In the absence of a fuel depot in Doksum, motorists have had to endure long drives to the fuel depots in Trashigang, located 27 kilometres away, or even further to Trashiyangtse, situated 32 kilometres away, to refuel their vehicles and replenish their LPG cylinders.

A taxi driver, Sonam Tashi, highlighted the financial burden of these journeys, particularly during the summer months when road blockages occur on both routes. “Travelling to Trashiyangtse is expensive, as it consumes at least five liters of fuel. It becomes even more challenging when roads are blocked,” he said. Sonam also explained that they often have to make the trip without passengers solely to refuel their vehicles in Trashiyangtse.

Residents echoed the sentiments of the taxi drivers, emphasizing the urgent need for a fuel station in the town. Doksum, centrally located amidst eight gewogs, has witnessed a steady increase in vehicle numbers, making a local depot an absolute necessity.

“It has been more than six years without any progress on the construction front. Finally, we can see laborers deployed at the construction site,” shared a resident.

Regrettably, the delayed construction of the fuel depot inadvertently created an opportunity for some shopkeepers along the Trashigang-Trashiyangtse highway to engage in illegal fuel sales.

“We had no choice but to sell fuel because the local residents, who own vehicles, requested it,” confided an anonymous businessman. “Given that we frequently travel to Trashigang for business, people started approaching us to purchase and store fuel here.”

The increasing use of LPG cylinders and the rising number of vehicles among villagers further contributed to the demand for fuel in the area.

Karma Lhamo, the representative of Doksum town, shed light on the inconveniences faced by the community. “To refill gas cylinders, people must reserve a taxi, costing them Nu 1600 each time. The establishment of the depot will significantly benefit business owners and residents of the town and its surrounding eight gewogs. For those without personal vehicles, the current situation is both inconvenient and expensive,” expressed Karma Lhamo.

Once operational, the DPCL plans to distribute approximately 20,000 litres of petrol, 50,000 litres of diesel, and a considerable number of LPG cylinders to the eight gewogs, further ensuring a consistent and reliable fuel supply for the region.