More than 200 subsidised Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders, which were returned so far by the consumers in Thimphu, were recently distributed in two gewogs of Haa.

The LPG cylinders were distributed to Sombaykha and Gakiling gewogs in Haa on May 26.

These cylinders were returned at the fuel depots following the launch of the non-subsidised LPG in February this year. The non-subsidised LPG was launched to meet the demand of LPG in the country, especially in rural areas.

Regional director of regional trade and industry office (RTIO) said that the returned subsidised LPG was provided to Sombaykha and Gakiling gewogs since they are among the remote gewogs in the Thimphu region. “Hereafter, as and when we have more people returning the cylinders, we will provide them to other gewogs. The next in line is Gasa.”

Today, refilling a subsidised LPG costs Nu 537. It costs Nu 782 to refill a non-subsidised LPG in Thimphu.

When buying a subsidised LPG, Nu 1,450 is paid as security deposit. For a non-subsidised LPG, a security deposit of Nu 1,650 is required.

About 200 subsidised LPG were returned to Bhutan Oil Distributer since its launch, while eight were returned at the Druk Petroleum Corporation Limited fuel depot.

According to officials at the fuel depots, although people are taking the non-subsidised LPG, few are returning the subsidised LPG cylinders.

The three distributers have together sold about 538 non-subsidised LPG until today.

The regional director said that although, people take the non-subsidised LPG from the fuel depots, they don’t return the subsidised LPG. “What we hear is that they are sending the subsidised LPG to their relatives in the rural areas instead of returning the subsidisded LPG. It may be true in some cases because I have seen few people sending the subsidised LPG to rural areas.”

Today, the economic affairs ministry is encouraging corporate bodies, institutes, and the officials at the ministries to use non-subsidised LPG and return the subsidised LPG. “The ministry has also asked institutes such as the hospital to use non-subsidised LPG,” the regional director said.  Since last month, hospitals have started using non-subsidised LPG.

Meanwhile, the ministry is still working to encourage people to use the online coupon system to avail services such as LPG provided by the department of trade.

Although the online coupon system was introduced in January this year, people are still unaware of the system. “So the ministry decided to do it parallel by taking both the card and coupon system. Now more people are using the mobile app and we hope that by the end of 2018, everyone will start using it.”

Phurpa Lhamo