The recent issue of LPG gas shortage in Motithang depot was due to transportation problems and customs related issues faced by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) at their bottling plants in Siliguri last week.
The Department of Trade (DoT) clarified that it took up this issue immediately with Indian Oil Corporation officials, Indian Customs Authorities and Bhutanese Dealers and addressed the shortage. DoT stated it monitors and ensure uninterrupted supplies in all fuel stations, however, sometimes shortages are caused by external factors such as strikes and natural calamities such as flood, road blockage which are beyond its control.
An official from DoT said the shortage of LPG earlier this week was not exactly the issue on shortage of LPG gas but it was because of the transportation problem in India.
The other reason for the shortage was that they had to supply the gas to Punakha and Wangdue as there was shortage there.
However, the trade official said people having the blue cylinder can always refill their cylinder with other two dealers in Thimphu but people are not willing to do that.
Manager of Druk Petroleum in Chubachu, Dorji, said recently there was shortage of non-subsidized gas in Thimphu due to the celebration of Durga Puja where the factory was closed for few days. The plant was closed and the supplier could not get the needed LPG gas. “It was only for three days that we could not get the LPG gas in country but after that there has been no issue and now we have both subsidized and non-subsidized LPG gas,” he said.
Since the dealers do not need quota to buy non-subsidized gas, we are bringing in more of non-subsidized LPG gas. And for non-subsidized gas, anyone can change from any depot unlike subsidized gas, he added.
DoT also informed the general public that all LPG cylinders have been made transferable between the dealers, and as such if refill services are not available at Motithang depot, then the other places to visit are Damchen Petroleum Distributor located at Chagzamtog near Thimphu Primary School and Druk Petroleum Corporation at Chubachu near Tarayana Building Complex.
Earlier, on 24 July, DoT, in a notification, said that there will no longer be subsidized cylinder handed from January 2020 in the four Thromdes of Thimphu, Phuentsholing, Gelephu and Samdrupjongkhar. Meanwhile, DoT is still working on the modality and how to go about it. Currently, the department is working on the low income group or urban poor. By end of this year, the department will do thorough awareness programs in the four Thromdes and officially start implementation by 2020.