It has been more than a week since the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder has run out of stock in the Gelephu region affecting six dzongkhags of Sarpang, Tsirang, Dagana, Zhemgang, Bumthang and Trongsa.
In Tsirang, about 15 customers come to the fuel depot everyday to inquire if the stock has arrived. People in the gewogs have been carrying the empty cylinders in their car for days waiting to refill it.
A corporate employee, Namgay, said he ran out of fuel on June 12. He had no other means to cook. After making several calls to his neighbours and friends, he managed to borrow one from a friend.
He said he is hopeful that the stock would arrive soon so that he could replace his friend’s cylinder on time.
Regional manager in Gelephu, Neten, said that the only truck lifting LPG cylinders from India is under repair. “We’ve not been able to lift because the vehicle has broken down,” he said.
He said they could do nothing in this situation and cannot replace the vehicle.
However, he said that the vehicle is expected to be back on the road tomorrow and the LPG cylinder stock is expected to arrive by June 15 evening. “Other five regional dzongkhags will receive the stock the following day.” While the subsidised gas is out of stock, Druk Petroleum Corporation is facing difficulty selling the non-subsidised cylinders.
Tsirang’s branch manager, Tashi Namgay, said after the non-subsidised gas arrived since February, only eight cylinders have been sold.
Tsirang received 70 gas cylinders and 62 are still in the distribution store.
“It is the price of the cylinder that is deterring people from buying it,” the manager said. “ No matter how dire their need, people do not want to buy the non-subsidised cylinder.”
A non-subsidised filled cylinder in Tsirang costs Nu 2,385.
On April 9, the trade department issued a notification to regional trade offices to recall all subsidised LPG cylinders issued to the institutions and replace with non-subsidised. There are at least 27 such cylinders in use, awaiting replacement.
Gelephu received more than 300 non-subsidised cylinders since February but so far they have sold less than 100.
Neten said that despite creating awareness to the urban residents, people are not willing to go for non-subsidised gas.
Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang