When the economic affairs ministry encouraged residents to surrender their subsidised liquified petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders earlier this year, officials assured that there will be an adequate supply of non-subsidised cylinders.
Depots in Thimphu, however, ran short of non-subsidised green LPG cylinders for a few days since last week.
Thimphu’s biggest LPG depot at Mothithang ran short of both subsidised and non-subsidised LPG since last week, sources said.
Customers expressed frustrations from the inconvenience.
Samdrup, a corporate employee said that he went to every depot in Thimphu to switch his subsidised LPG to non-subsidised, however, none of the depots had non-subsidised LPG.
Some office goers said that they had been carrying their empty cylinders in cars, “As and when the stock arrives, we are going to fill it up.”
Trade director Sonam Tenzin said that the issue was solved after trade officials met with Indian Oil Corporation officials, Indian Customs Authorities and Bhutanese dealers on October 15.
“By today evening or midnight, the refilled LPG will be available. There will be a seamless supply of LPG from now on,” he said yesterday.
“Local dealers are already in Gelephu and Phuentsholing to ensure an adequate number of stocks to be supplied.”
He clarified that the brief shortage at the Mothithang 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.
Trade director Sonam Tenzin said that the department took up the issue immediately with Indian Oil Corporation officials, Indian Customs Authorities and Bhutanese dealers. He claimed that the issue of shortage had been addressed.
“While we are regularly monitoring, sometimes shortages are caused by external factors such as strikes and natural calamities like flood and road blockage.”
The LPG cylinders were made transferable between the dealers. For instance, if refill services are not available at Motithang depot, customers can avail the services from Damchen Petroleum Distributor located at Chamzamtog and Druk Petroleum Corporation at Chubachu near Tarayana Building complex.
Numerous reforms were initiated to ensure sufficient supply of LPG cylinders such as Gyenkhu programme, lifting subsidised LPG cylinders from the four thromdes, and the additional 300MT of subsidised LPG from India.
The trade department issued a notification stating that it would lift subsidised LPG cylinders from Phuentsholing, Samdrupjongkhar, Gelephu and Thimphu thromdes from 2020.