The country’s major towns including Thimphu are hard hit by the shortage of cooking gas, commonly used LPG, partly owing to the ongoing strikes in Assam and West Bengal. There is also an increasing price of diesel in India which contributes to the disruption of transportation of LPG cylinders from Indian cities to Bhutan.
In Thimphu, snaking lines of consumers await for 10 days at gas depot located at Motithang, Kuensel reports. In Pemagatshel, 230 cylinders received yesterday after a hiatus of 20 days are all cleared within an hour.
The supply in the eastern towns has been affected because of the surging violence and strikes in northeast India. ‘The transportation of LPG cylinders from Guwahati could not be possible due to the strike in Assam’, said regional trade director in Samdrupjongkhar.
Similarly, the supply in Phuentsholing and Thimphu has dwindled as the road conditions are too bad to transport one truck load of LPG from Siliguri to Phuentsholing in a day. “It takes almost two days now to get one truck load of cylinders reach Phuentsholing from Siliguri, which otherwise would take only a day”, lamented a senior manager of BOD in Phuentsholing.
In Thimphu, two truckloads carrying about 462 cylinders were promptly cleared out by mid-Monday.
At the time when demand for cooking gas is ever increasing, the most bulky consumption is by the hotels and trekking groups leading to non-availability for general individual consumers.
“Prices are going up and it costs long waiting time for us who need just a cylinder or two in a month”, said a Thimphu resident over the phone.
Bhutan has a quota of 700MT LPG supply from India every month. Of this, 500MT goes to western region while 100MT each is set aside for consumption in central and eastern region.