A driver stops his car by a shop in Sonamthang. He asks the shopkeeper to refuel his car for Nu 1,000. The shopkeeper comes out with two black jerry cans and pours fuel into the vehicle using a funnel.

This is how most of the people in Panbang fuel their cars. Panbang doesn’t have a fuel station and people have to drive to Nganglam to fuel their cars.

A resident in Panbang said they have to pay a higher rate for petrol in Panbang but it is of great help. “Nganglam is 55km from Panbang and driving there just to fuel does not make sense,” he said.

Petrol in Panbang costs Nu 70-75 per litre.

He said there are many vehicles in Panbang and a fuel station is required. A fuel depot was promised to the people of Panbang many times but one did not materialise.

A corporate employee said he used to store petrol in the past before the opening of the Panbang-Nganglam highway. “We can go to Nganglam to fuel if needed,” he said.

Nado, 60, from Panbang town said he found people surveying the land at Tungudemba to build a petrol pump last year but a depot did not materialise. “It was always a problem to fuel my car,” he said.

Another town resident said that recently the Prime Minister had promised to establish a petrol pump in Panbang soon. “I hope it comes up this time since Lyonchoen himself has promised one,” he said.

Panbang dungpa, Mani Sangye said the dungkhag cleared the building of the fuel depot at Tungudemba six months ago. Construction is expected to begin shortly.

Nima Wangdi | Panbang