Development: Numerous highways connect Panbang, making it a centre of sorts. The number of vehicles passing through the town has increased over the years, and now a fuel station is required.

People in the town said they are now able to go to Nganglam to fuel their cars after the Nganglam-Panbang highway opened. Nganglam is 55km away and the nearest town for them. People used to fuel their cars from Gelephu and Phuentsholing earlier.

Ugyen Tsheing, who runs a shop in Panbang, said he bought diesel in huge containers from nearby towns and stocked it at home.  “But these were not safe for the cars,” he said.

Ugyen Tshering also said it is not much of a problem for the business people who frequently kept travelling to other towns, but civil servants and others who hardly move out of the dungkhag suffer.

Dungkhag and other offices that own more cars stock fuel in barrels. Roads get blocked in the summers and Panbang remained cut off.

Nado, a shopkeeper, said Panbang has grown and a fuel station is required. “There was a talk of setting up a fuel station in Panbang but nothing has come up as of now.”

Officiating Panbang drungpa, Tshering Tobgay, said the issue was raised during the public meeting with the Prime Minister recently. Prime Minister has instructed the dungkhag to identify a site and submit a report.

Tshering Tobgay said the dungkhag has already identified a site at Tungademba where the new town is supposed to come up. “We are in the process of acquiring clearances and soon will write to the trade regional office in Trongsa.”

Tungademba is about two kilometres from Panbang town.

Nima Wangdi | Panbang