Rumours of a price hike has caused residents to hoard LPG, say officials
A llying rumours of a price hike, economic affairs minister Lekey Dorji said that the price of subsidised liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) would not increase in the near future.
The allocated quota of sub-subsidised LPG to Bhutan, he said, would continue.
Lyonpo said that the monthly quota of subsidised LGP for Bhutan is 750 metric tones.
He also brushed off speculations that the price would increase with the approach of parliamentary elections in 2018. “The price will not increase overnight just like that,” he said, adding that the increase in the price in 2013 was a result of expiry of the grace period.
Lyonpo said that the country should not be facing a shortage of LPG with the current amount of supply. “We don’t have shortages of LPG,” he said.
However, LPG depots in Thimphu have not been able to meet the demand from consumers for the last three days. The depots blame rumours of a possible price rise that prompted consumers to hoard LPG.
The sudden surge in demand in Thimphu has coincided with irregular supply from India.
Thimphu-based regional manager of BOD, Karma Thinley, said there has been some disruption in the regular supply of LPG for a few days.
“It is often difficult to ensure regular supply as we have to bring from West Bengal,” he said.
The Motithang LPG depot in Thimphu gets two trucks loads of LPG containing about 500 cylinders. For the last three days, however the supply at the depot has been halved.
It has been receiving only a truck load of LPG, according to a depot official.
But he said there was no reason for consumers to worry although the shortage at the moment was real. “People need not panic as we have placed order for supply of 5,000 cylinders. The supply will arrive soon,” he said.
He also said that some people were trying to hoard LPG, creating shortage.
According to him, it was difficult and took longer for the company to retrieve empty cylinders supplied to gewogs. He said the company needs to send back empty cylinders for supply of refilled cylinders.
Rumours that LPG prices would increase, he said, was one of the reasons for the shortage. He said people were trying to hoard cylinders due to the rumours and added that the price of non-subsidised LPG would not increase.
The two other depots – the Chubachu-based Bhutan Gas and Damchen Gas at Changzamtog also have not received the supply regularly. The depot did not have LPG to sell yesterday.
Damchen Gas also has not received LPG for the past few days and was without LPG yesterday.
A resident Khampa said he was unable to get a cylinder from the Motithang depot even in two days. “The government must do something to fix the problem,” he said.
Another consumer, Tashi, said that he took four days to refill a cylinder. “We have no time to stand in a queue every day while we need to be in office,” he said.