The government will launch non-subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to meet the growing demand in the country.
Currently, each household can avail just one LPG refill a month. Once non-subsidised LPG is launched, consumers requiring more than one refill a month can avail non-subsidised LPG cylinders in addition to the subsidised one.
The cost of a non-subsidised empty cylinder as per the prevailing market price is Nu 1,650, inclusive of 10 percent Bhutan Sales Tax and the cost for refill services Nu 815.
The difference between the refill cost for subsidised and non-nubsidised is Nu 278 in Thimphu.
Rural communities have emerged as a new market for LPG, but there has been no increase in the supply from India. Last year, the government launched a scheme to provide LPG cylinders to rural households.
Speaking to media editors yesterday, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay urged consumers to go for non-subsidised LPG. “Affluent households and individuals would be encouraged to use non-subsidised LPG so that subsidised LPG can be made available in the rural areas,” the prime minister said.
The monthly quota of subsidised LPG for Bhutan is 700 metric ton (MT).
The import of non-subsidised LPG is in addition to the regular quota Bhutan imports today.
“Although the allocated LPG should be sufficient, people still face shortages due to hoarding more than required cylinders at home,” he said.
The government attributed the shortage to increasing number of households in the urban areas. LPG is also used for heating purposes.
The prime minister said the economic affairs minister took up the issue with the Ministry of Petroleum and National Gas in India during PetroTech Conference in 2016. “The government of India has agreed to supply 1,000 MT of non-subsidized LPG per month and necessary arrangements has been worked out both with domestic dealers and Indian Oil Corporation limited (IOCL) for distributions.”
In terms of the number of cylinders, around 70,400 non-subsidised cylinders are estimated to be made available.
The government also announced that the institutional users who are currently availing subsidized LPG would be discontinued. The business entities would be strictly monitored through periodic inspection.
The introduction of the non-subsidised LPG will not affect the quota and price of subsidised LPG.
Thimphu-based regional manager of BOD, Karma Thinley, said that a consignment of about 1,000 non-subsidised LPG cylinders has arrived in Phuentsholing.
An empty cylinder of subsidized LPG costs Nu 1,450 and refill costs Nu 537.
Karma Thinley said it has been difficult and time consuming for the suppliers to retrieve empty cylinders from gewogs. Empty cylinders have to be collected for placement of a new consignment order.
“There is no extra quota for supply to gewogs and this has contributed to shortages,” he said.
The import of POL products has been the highest in the list of the commodities imported from India. Import of non-subsidised LPG is expected to further increase the import volume.