Service: Following a lab test, trade officials have confirmed that the petrol at a Tashi fuel depot in Bajo is unadulterated.

Taxi drivers in Bajo had alleged that the petrol at the fuel pump was adulterated and was damaging their vehicles.

Trade officials said they collected petrol samples after hearing of the allegations.

A trade official said all fuel depots are required to carry out testing before refilling their underground tankers. “To ensure depots maintain quality and quantity of fuel as per the trade rules, we also conduct sudden inspections once a month,” said a trade official.

The trade department in Thimphu looks after 15 fuel depots in the five dzongkhags of Haa, Paro, Wangdue, Punakha and Thimphu.

As a result of the rumours, most vehicles in Bajo are now refueling at the fuel depot located below Wangdue bridge instead of the one besides Bajo town.

Some of the taxi drivers said they even went to lodge a complaint with the police but didn’t do so as they found trade officials collecting samples from that fuel-depot in question.

Taxi drivers said their vehicle engines made strange sounds and struggled to climb slopes after refueling from the Tashi fuel depot.

A government employee in Bajo told Kuensel that it wasn’t just the taxi drivers who were complaining but that they too had experienced similar problems. “We didn’t complain because we saw trade officials coming,” said another employee.

The manager with Tashi fuel-depot said that no direct complaints have been received. He said the rumour began after BBS aired news about adulterated fuel in Paro. “We have sold more than 25,000 litres of petrol within the last few days, even after the rumours,” said the manager.

He said they conduct quality and quantity testing before unloading and pouring into the underground tank, and also conduct tests before selling to customers. “We don’t unload if the petrol is found beyond 3 density, otherwise we return it back,” he said. The fuel depot receives two tanks of diesel in a day and one tank of petrol every two days.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue