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Fuelwood consumption shoots through the roof

Kerosene, on the other hand, has shown a steady decline over the years

Resource: Over the last three years, fuelwood consumption in the country has increased almost tenfold.

From just 474 truckloads of fuelwood in 2011, the consumption has sharply increased to 4,478 truckloads in 2012, and 4,108 truckloads in 2013.  Last year, 390 additional truckloads of fuelwood from the Natural Resource Development corporation (NRDCL) were supplied for commercial purpose in urban areas.

NRDCL officials said industrial wood demand has also increased over the years.

“It’s difficult to say what caused the rise in fuelwood consumption,” said Mani Gyaltshen, assistant marketing manager.

Trees are cut, as and when there is demand from consumers.  However, for Thimphu (Wang) region, stocks are kept for emergency.

A truckload of fuelwood costs Nu 7,306 in Thimphu.  In Bumthang, it can be availed at Nu 3,320 and Nu 4,272.

On the other hand, kerosene (SKO) import decreased since 2011 until 2013, according to data with the department of trade.  Records for 2014 are yet to be compiled.

In 2011, 5,607 kilolitres (kl) of kerosene were imported for quota, which decreased to 5,547kl in 2012.  The import further went down by 569kl in 2013 from the previous year.

SKO used in the industries have also gone down drastically.  The 120kl SKO used in the industries in 2011 decreased to zero in 2012.  In 2013, 12kl of SKO were used.

While both fuelwood and kerosene are used for heating in the urban area, in the rural areas, they are mostly used for cooking purposes.

The department of forest and park services (DFPS) issues fuelwood extraction permits for consumption in the villages.  According to DFPS records, consumption of fuelwood has fluctuated over the years.  It was 5,424 truckloads in 2013, 4,664 truckloads in 2012 and 9,574 in 2011.

Briquette production has also fluctuated over the years.  In 2013, 381 metric tonnes (MT) of briquettes were produced, which increased to 804MT the following year.  It was 381MT in 2012.

By Nirmala Pokhrel

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