Residents have been lobbying for a fuel depot for more than a decade

Service: Come July and residents of Jomotshangkha will no more have to pay exorbitant fuel prices or risk security fetching fuel from a bordering Indian town.

Two huge underground tanks have been transported to the site where a fuel station will be constructed. Residents are patiently waiting for the work to progress further.

Bhutan Oil Distributor’s (BOD) regional manager, Dhendup Tshering said they are waiting for the land commission’s approval and forest clearance.  He said the works will start from June and the depot will begin dispensing fuel from July. Their counterpart in India, Bharat Petroleum is ready to send their people anytime to install the tanks and dispenser.

“We’ve also asked the dungkhag and gups to see if they can arrange for a store or an empty room so that we could start distributing LPG cylinders sooner,” he said.

BOD will be distributing about 20 kilolitres (KL) of petrol, 80KL of diesel, 10KL of kerosene and 600 LPG cylinders in the dungkhag every month.

“Although the company would incur loss, the depot is being set up solely to cater to people’s need,” he said.

Without any fuel depot till date, residents of the dungkhag are paying exorbitant prices for both fuel and LPG cylinders. Residents have been requesting for a fuel depot for more than a decade.

Residents buy fuels in barrels from Samdrupjongkhar and by the time it reaches the dungkhag prices inflate to around Nu 85 a litre for petrol and Nu 65 for diesel. LPG costs more than Nu 800 per cylinder. While some have the option to fill their tanks from bordering Indian towns, availability of INR and security was a concern.

Residents said with a few projects and institutions coming up in the town, both population and number of vehicles are on the rise and there was a compelling need for a fuel depot.

There are more than 100 vehicles in the dungkhag.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Jomotsangkha