Thinley Namgay    

If soaring prices of commodities are impacting Thimphu residents during the lockdown, increased price of liquified petroleum gas (LPG) is hitting them hard.

Subsidised gas cost Nu 719 and non-subsidised gas cost Nu 788 at the Bhutan Oil Distributor (BOD) depot at Lungtenzampa.

An official from the BOD said that the price increased recently from Nu 688 for subsidised and Nu 775 for non-subsidised LPG  but by the time the LPG cylinders reach homes, distributors charge about Nu 800 to Nu 900 a cylinder.

A Changzamtog resident, Tshering Dema, said that before the lockdown, the subsidised gas cost about Nu 600 while delivering to her home. “The price increased drastically during the lockdown.”

She said she paid Nu 950 to change her subsidised LPG on January 15. “It is impacting economically disadvantaged people like us.”

A resident from Babesa said that he paid Nu 820 for the subsidised LPG during home delivery yesterday. “The price has increased, but the gas is a necessity, and we had no choice rather than to buy.”

Another Babesa resident had to pay Nu 900 to change her subsidised LPG a week ago.

There are about 20 LPG distributors facilitating door-to-door service amid the lockdown and the delivery charges vary from distributor to distributor.

The BOD official said distributors might be charging depending on the distance. “Our actual price is based on the directive from the Department of Trade.”

At the Damchen petroleum distributors at Changzamtog, the price for subsidised LPG is Nu 720, and non-subsidised LPG cost Nu 775.

A Damchen LPG distributor, Parash Kumar Chettri, said that he had been delivering gas to Olakha, Babesa and Changjiji and business was going well. “About 40 individuals asked me for LPG cylinder yesterday. We are supplying the gas depending upon the name list given by the de-suups and individuals.”

Tashi Rabten Gas Delivery proprietor, Rabten, said that distributors were instructed to charge only Nu 100 as per the trade officials. “But for the places such as Kabesa, Begana, Tango, Namseling, Khasadrapchu and Jimena, we are charging Nu 150 owing to the distance.”