LPG: About a month after the issue of not getting subsidised Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) refilled was discussed at the dzongkhag tshogdu (DT), villagers of Tashi Gatshel in Bjachho, Chukha are content that the situation has now improved.

Tashi Gatshel tshogpa Sangay Zam said the problem has been solved.

“All LPG consumers of Bjachho gewog are getting their refills on time,” she said.

Sangay Zam said she went seven times to the gas station at Tshimasham to refill her cylinder and to understand people’s problem. She said the LPG problem, which started in 2014 improved only after the issue was brought up at the tshogdu last month.

Bjachho gup Gyeltshen also shared an incident that occurred in July this year where a man had beaten up a teacher of Tshimalakha when they were in queue for a refill.

“The issue was submitted to the tshogdu as it was of utmost importance,” the gup said. “There may come a time when people may kill each other for a refill.”

Bjachho people have to travel at least 16 kilometres until Tshimasham gas station for a refill. Most of the time, people went home with empty cylinders, gup Gyeltshen said.

“Villagers from Bjachho even wasted the refill money in the town,” the gup said.

According to Gyeltshen and locals, Bjachho and Chapcha are the most affected gewogs. As other gewogs buy from Gedu, with some even going to Phuentsholing, these two particular gewogs depend on gas station at Tshimasham.

The competition to refill, Gyeltshen said, increases because staff of Druk Green Power Corporation, including army and police personnel also avail the same station’s services.

Another reason for the shortage, locals said was due to hotels and restaurants in Tshiamsham and Tshimalakha using the subsidized gas in place of the commercial gas.

Meanwhile, business establishments may have started using the commercial gas, a restauranteur said.

“The fault lies with the business establishments,” he said adding that owners did not buy commercial gas when there was an agent at Tshimasham. “The agent withdrew as businesses did not avail the big gas.”

Commercial establishments today get their refills from Phuentsholing. They pay about Nu 100 as carrying charge to transport trucks.

Aum Rinchen, a Bjachho resident remembers not getting LPG refill for about two months this year. “But the situation has turned around, ” she said.

Rajesh Rai, Chukha