Fuel: Residents of Dagana are frustrated that they have to either fill up their vehicles with fuel stored in jerry cans or travel up to 47 km to fuel their vehicles in Dagapela.

In a small fuel station in Dagana fuel is stored in two plastic barrels with a capacity of 230 litres each.

A corporate employee, Lhendup Gyeltshen said that while they do have a small fuel station in Dagana town the cost of petrol per litre is almost Nu 80 which is significantly more expensive when compared to the Dagapela fuel station.

“We get it for Nu 60 per litre from Dagapela but we can’t go there all the time, so we have no option other than to fuel our car from the only fuel station we have in Dagana town,” he said.

He added that he is suspicious of the quality of the fuel and also concerned that his vehicle may eventually be damaged.

Lhendup said that two weeks prior, the small fuel station in Dagana was shut down as the owner went on pilgrimage and once the fuel in his vehicle was exhausted he actually had to hire a friend’s vehicle to get fuel from Dagapela in two jerry cans of 10 litres each.

Another civil servant in Dagana said that most of the people fill their vehicles manually with fuel stored in jerry cans. They said they are not sure if such a practice is safe.

“I don’t know whether it is safe to fuel our car manually but we don’t have any alternative than fueling our car manually,” he said.

He added that the fuel station in Dagana also uses a five litre can to fill the cars which is time consuming.

However, the owner of the fuel station in Dagana, Rinzin Lhendup said that it is challenging for him to run a fuel station in Dagana. He said that he too has to get fuel from the Dagapela fuel depot once in a month in three plastic barrels each with a capacity of 230 litres.

“I know that people in Dagana complain of price being little higher than Dagapela but they also have to understand I am paying Nu 3,000 to bring the oil from Dagapela to Dagana and I also have to pay the lease fee of the license, land and taxes too,” he said.

Rinzin Lhendup said that he has applied to the dzongkhag to grant him land in which he can apply for the license either from Tashi or Damchen to set up a proper fuel station in the region.

“If I am granted with the land and if I get an independent license than I know I can sell the fuel at a reasonable price,” he said.

He added that it is his sixth year of supplying fuel in Dagana. He sells about a barrel each of diesel and petrol every month.

Dagana Dzongda Tenzin Thinley said that so far he has not received any proposal from the oil distributers to set a fuel depot in the region.

“Setting up a fuel depot is a private thing and the private party should find a location and come forward to put a proposal,”  the dzongda said.

By Yeshey Dema, Dagana