About 235 households of three gewogs in Lhuentse received domestic liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders on August 1 as part of the economic affairs ministry’s scheme to distribute it to rural households who do not own one.

The farmers, who have come from far-flung villages, hope that the gas cylinders would ease their life. The farmer paid Nu 1,450 as security deposit and Nu 576 for a refill.

A farmer, Yangchen Tshomo, came all the way from Ney village in Gangzur gewog to receive the LPG cylinder.

The mother of six said she envied those who owned LPG in their village, as it meant not depending on firewood and maintaining cleanliness in the house.

Another farmer, Singye Peldon, 37, from Lamgong village in Khoma gewog said her family uses firewood for cooking when their neighbours used LPG cylinders. “It is especially handy in summer when firewood becomes damp because of the rain.”

A farmer from Magar in Gangzur, Tandin Tshewang, said, it has become difficult to collect firewood now and LPG cylinders could help them. “A truck load of firewood costs Nu 10,000 to 15,000.”

The scheme started its first phase in February this year for Lhuentse, Zhemgang, Samtse and Mongar. The first phase was implemented based on the socio-economic status of the people.

However, not everyone who applied for the gas cylinders got one.

According to the Magar-Somshing chiwog tshogpa, Sonam Lhamo, of the 99 households that applied for LPG cylinders, only 22 received it. “We hope the ministry or trade office would provide us in the next round.”

She said people in her chiwog depend on firewood as of now and almost all households applied to the forest office for a truckload of firewood.

Officiating chief with the regional trade office in Mongar, Karma Tshewang Rinzin, said, that by providing the LPG cylinders to farmers, they aim to reduce dependency on firewood to preserve the environment.

He said that although they received 350 applications to avail the cylinders, they screened out 115 households based on the records maintained by the trade office for already owning one.

The trade officials briefed the recipients on the safety measures while using the cylinders.

Economic affairs minister, Lekey Dorji, while handing over the LPG cylinders to the people, reminded them to use it properly.

It was learnt that Mongar Bhutan oil distributer (BOD) office receives 2,000 LPG cylinders every month from the regional trade office in Samdrupjongkhar. Lhuentse BOD requires about 600 LPG cylinders every month.

Meanwhile, the LPG cylinders were distributed to the three gewogs of Gangzur, Khoma, and Maenbi. Six gewogs have received the cylinders that day. Dungkhhar and Menji gewogs will receive the gas cylinders in the next phase.

Tashi Phuntsho | Lhuentse