Service: To meet the growing demand for LPG cylinders and fuel in the villages, local leaders from the six northern gewogs of Trashigang say a fuel depot has become necessary in Rangjung.

Rangjung, which was declared a yenlag thromde in 2015 serves as a commercial hub for the six gewogs of Shongphu, Radhi, Phongmey, Bidung, Merak and Sakteng. Given the importance, the issue was also discussed during the last dzongkhag tshogdu.

He said the northern gewogs of Trashigang have more vehicles today while the nearest fuel depot is located miles away near Trashigang town.

“Because Rangjung is centrally located to the six gewogs, the distance involved would be less. For instance, the villagers of Shongphu need not travel 60Km to and fro if a fuel depot comes to Rangjung,” he said.

However, Gup Kinzang Wangdi said the villagers would benefit most from the LPG cylinder outlet. Today, around 70 percent of the villagers use gas cylinders in the gewog.

“To refill a gas cylinder from Trashigang, Shongphu villagers have to spend about Nu 500 on travel and food. It would be higher for villagers from Radhi, Merak and Sakteng,” he said. “So, we are talking about a more efficient delivery of service at a much lesser price.”

Radhi Gup Jigmi Namgyal said villagers don’t always get to refill gas cylinders the same day despite travelling more than 30km to Trashigang.

“When we reach the depot, we hear that gas cylinders have run out and it would take a few days for the next supply. For those without a vehicle of their own, it becomes very inconvenient and expensive,” he said. “Although the government has pledged a fuel depot in every gewog, one at Rangjung would also benefit the northern gewogs.”

In the highland gewogs of Merak and Sakteng, villagers are also switching to using gas cylinders over firewood. With the coming of roads, more villagers are buying vehicles, Sakteng Gup Tshewang Tshering said.

“About 15 percent of people in Sakteng use gas cylinders today. With the government stressing on environment friendly practices, the consumption of firewood has dropped and more villagers are opting for gas cylinders,” he said. “Including those owned by civil servants, there should be more than 30 vehicles here.”

Meanwhile, the officiating regional director with the regional trade and industry office in Mongar, Karma Tshewang Rinzin, said there is no certainty as to whether Rangjung will get a fuel depot.

The office recently collected information on the distance of gewog centres from the nearest fuel depots for Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Mongar and Lhuentse dzongkhags. It was submitted to the economic affairs ministry for discussion in parliament.

“If the government decides to come up with fuel depots in every gewog, we will face difficulty in terms of monitoring,” he said. “On the other hand, the office has also recommended five strategic locations where fuel depots can be constructed in the four eastern dzongkhags. Rangjung is one of the locations.”

Tshering Wangdi |  Trashigang