Almost three years after the Bhutan Oil Corporation (BOC) identified an area to construct a fuel depot, residents of Samdrupcholing drungkhag will get a depot by December this year.

This means the residents need not drive to Samdrupjongkhar to refuel their cars.

A truck driver, Tashi, 31, said that driving all the way to Samdrupjongkhar just to fuel the truck is wastage of time and fuel. Samdrupjongkhar is 67kms away from Samdrupcholing.

He said that many car owners in the locality refuel from those who sell fuel and the price is high. “But we have no choice than to pay Nu 65 to 70 for petrol and Nu 60 to 65 for diesel. At the depot, a litre of petrol costs about Nu 57 and diesel Nu 52.

A Samdrupcholing resident, Thukten, said they fuel their cars from vendors during emergencies even if the price is high, as it’s helpful. “But they also run out of stock frequently.”

He said that he stores fuel in jerry cans at home.

Thukten said that having a new fuel station in the locality could ease their life, as the Samdrupcholing-Samdrupjongkhar road condition is bad.

Residents said it is not known why BOC delayed the construction. “It would help the residents if BOC could construct it soon.”

BOC’s eastern regional manager, Dhendup Tshering, said the officials from BOC and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have visited the area more than five times but they could not start the construction because of the land issue.

He said that they had to change the location about three times.

According to the regional manager, they are now doing the paper work in consultation with IOC officials after they manage to finalise a 50 decimal area at Tshanchuthang. “IOC officials informed us that the station will be ready by December this year.”

Dhendup Tshering said BOC has received the thram for the land.

According to the environment and IOC rules, a fuel depot should have an office, LPG gas store and a canopy. As per BOC rules, there should be a depot every after 100kms and should also have more than 100 vehicles in the area.

The regional manager claimed that their priority is public benefit and profit oriented. “The station in Samdrupcholing will also have a LPG gas store,” Dhendup Tshering said.

He, however, said work might get delayed because of the goods service tax (GST) increase in India but they will work to complete on time. There are 12 BOC fuel stations in the eastern region.

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupcholing