The issue was raised at the dzongkhag tshogdu so that it becomes easier for villagers
Fuel: As easy as using LPG has made the lives of villagers in Bumthang, its as difficult for them to get the gas cylinders refilled.
The Bhutan Oil Corporation (BOC) in Bumthang is located in Chamkhar town and the villagers have to come from as far as Shingkhar in Ura gewog hitching rides in buses, pool or private vehicles and hiring taxis to get the gas refiled.
At times, the expenditure incurred in travelling to Chamkhar and back to the village is more than what they pay as taxi fares. This problem is faced by all villagers of Tang, Chhoekhor, Ura and Chhumig gewogs.
Villagers said Chhumig residents don’t have much trouble getting rides as there are several vehicles plying the highway whereas only farm roads connect Chhoekhor and Tang gewogs, making it difficult to get vehicles. There have also been instances when they don’t get gas after reaching Chamkhar.
The furthest village in Tang gewog is about 40km from Chamkhar and until Chhoekhortoe, its about 25km. Although Ura is also along the highway, it is about 50km from Chamkhar and the furthest village. Shingkhar is about 8km more from Ura. Some villagers who hire taxis pay more than Nu 1,000 for one way.
Tshering, 27, a resident in Ura said she sent her empty gas cylinder through someone who was visiting Chamkhar and told him to reach the cylinder to her relative’s place. “I asked my relatives to change the gas for me and send it back through someone who’s coming to Ura,” she said.
During the Bumthang dzongkhag tshogdu on November 7 and 8, Tang gup Thinley Namgyel and Ura gup Dorji Wangchuk raised those issue and suggested that a separate quota of gas cylinders be sent to the gewogs to make it easier for the villagers.
Bumthang dzongrab Sonam Tshering said he learned from the BOC manager that there is no shortage of gas now as the quota for Bumthang dzongkhag has increased. “However, we will be requesting the regional trade office if we can get a certain quota to be sent to the gewogs,” he said adding they will decide on further necessities after the approval.
BOC manager said a few months ago, there was a short in supply of gas cylinders, which is why people returned disappointed but now the supply is consistent and that they even have extra cylinders. “We are getting about three to four truck loads of cylinders in a month now and each truck load carries 300 cylinders, which is more than enough,” he said.
By Sonam Choden, Bumthang