Local lenders and private fuel suppliers are currently filling in and making a good profit

Facilities: Residents of Tendu in Samtse are waiting for the government to fulfil its pledge to set up a bank in every gewog.

They are hopeful that rumours making rounds of a Bhutan Development Bank Ltd (BDBL) coming to their town comes true soon. Some BDBL clients have also received their ATM cards, locals said.

The town is yet to get its first bank or an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), and a fuel depot.

Business people say it is time such facilities are established given the benefits for both service providers and users.

Residents of Tendu and Bara gewogs travel to Sipsu to avail banking services and fuel their vehicles.

Sipsu has two banks, BDBL and Bank of Bhutan (BoB). It got a fuel depot in Belbotay last year.

Having to travel a far distance for banking services is a hassle for businesswoman Khadka Maya Gurung who owns a bakery.  “At times I have to go as far as Samtse,” she said.  “I heard from friends that BDBL would soon open a bank here,” she said.

Tendu residents said that at present BDBL has a huge client base in Tendu and Bara. BDBL officials visit these places once every  month to collect loan premiums.

Tendu and Bara gewogs are major cardamom producers in the dzongkhag.

“In Sipsu there is nothing and most of the clientele is here,” a shopkeeper Kishore Gurung.

He said that the coming of banks would mean people can begin saving their money too.

“It would be good to have a bank and an ATM here in Tendu as the location is more suitable,” Kishore Gurung said.

Tendu Gup Pema Wangchuk also said that without banking facilities in Tendu, the number of local lenders has increased. Local lenders, the gup said charge higher interest rates.

Despite opening a fuel depot in Sipsu people from Tendu and Bara still fuel from a local businessman in Tendu during emergency paying higher price. Vehicle owners pay Nu 70 a litre of petrol and Nu 60 for diesel.

Gup Pema Wangchuk said the fuel prices at times  are higher by Nu 15 from the prices at fuel depot. “We need a fuel depot here,” he said.

Not only Tendu and Bara but Gup Pema Wangchuk said that residents of Biru gewog, which is located between the two gewogs would also benefit from the fuel depot.

Tendu gewog has more than 6,000 residents and more than 1,500 students. There is also an army camp and police colony.

Rajesh Rai | Tendu