The Thimphu thromde has finalised plans to relocate the fuel depots in the city to locations outside the core town limits, to meet safety and environmental standards.
Thromde officials said fuel depots stocked with hundreds of thousands of litres of fossil fuel is a fire hazard and leads to traffic jams in the core areas because vehicles converge to refuel everyday.
With the planned relocation of the Bhutan Oil Distributor (BOD) fuel depot opposite the police headquarters, belonging to the Tashi Group, access to the capital city will be smoother without vehicles coming from four directions and converging at the busy and confusing narrow road near the fuel depot.
“There shall be no fuel depot in core town areas and thromde plans to shift the fuel depots beyond the core town limits,” a thromde official said.
“The Tashi BOD at Lungtenzampa and Druk Petroleum Corporation at Chubachu near Tarayana Center will be relocated to Olakha and Hejo respectively.”
According to thromde officials, the ownership of the existing fuel station at Lungtenzampa was granted to Tashi Commercial Corporation, by the Judiciary in 2013, after a six year legal battle between Thimphu thromde and Tashi Corporation. However, the area falls under E2 (Environmental Precinct) of Thimphu Structure Plan.
The Thimphu Structure Plan 2002-2027 states, “Precinct is an area in town designated for specific or restricted use and the land owner cannot develop anything on it. Precinct categories have been formed so that the city can function in harmony. Each precinct protects a group of human activities from the interfering or the destructive aspects of other human activities. By defining and separating these spheres, the optimum meaning and functionality of each sphere is protected”.
“Both parties, thromde and Tashi group, were not aware that the area bordering BOD was categorized as E2 until the passing of the judgment by Supreme Court,” thromde officials said.
“Following the court’s verdict, thromde decided to acquire the land. Thromde is negotiating with Tashi group and we are hopeful that Tashi group will give us the land because it is for the benefit of the public. In return we shall compensate them and provide land in neighboring locations,” said an official.
According to the Thimphu Structure Plan, considering the settlement pattern, concentration of population, environmental assets and geographical features of Thimphu valley, urban villages would prove to be an appropriate unit for planning purposes rather than the administrative zones that is currently in practice.
As a basic unit of planning in the structure plan, sixteen urban villages have been identified.
Conceptually these units have amenities, basic services and convenience shopping core in their center called ‘neighborhood nodes’.
BOD at Lungtenzampa will be shifted to such a ‘neighborhood node’ in Olakha, near the old Election Commission Office building, and Druk Petroleum Corporation at Chubachu will be shifted to neighborhood node in Hejo samteling LAP.
The fuel depot in Dechencholing will cater to the people residing in the northern part of Thimphu and the one in Olakha will cater to people residing in south Thimphu.
According to thromde it will construct a children’s park in the area of the fuel depot at Chubachu and a circular road will be constructed in the area the BOD fuel station to ease the traffic.