Tashichhoeling fuel depot runs out of fuel amid border closure

The Tashichhoeling fuel depot in Samtse benefits about seven gewogs. But it serves no purpose at the moment as it is currently closed. After the border gates were closed last year, transporting fuel to the depot has become difficult especially during the summer.

Since the closure of the border gates, the trucks transporting petroleum from India have to travel via Samtse Gewog to Tashichhoeling. On the way, the trucks have to cross two rivers. Since the weights of the trucks exceed the load carrying capacity of the bridges, the trucks are driven through the river. This becomes almost impossible during the summer when the river swells up.

Since last year we have been transhipping LPG cylinders and fuel over the Budhini and Diana Rivers. We have done the same this year too. But we are facing a lot of losses from doing this,” said Mahesh Gurung, the Managar of Tashichhoeling fuel depot.

Without a reliable supply of Fuel and LPG cylinders, the fuel depot is closed most of the time.

Residents say the depot has remained closed for about three months now. They travel about 50 kilometres all the way to Samtse town to buy fuel.

“When there is no LPG here, we have to go to Samtse by paying Nu 500 to reach Samtse and return. And upon reaching Samtse, it is not guaranteed that we will get the gas cylinders,” said Dorji Wangdi, a resident.

“Without cylinders, some of us are using heaters and making a fire outside to cook meals,” said Namgay Dorji, another resident.

The Tashichhoeling fuel depot manager however said they are currently exploring the possibilities of using the old route via Nagrakarta in India.

“As a solution, I think if we are allowed to transport oil products from India via the Phuentshogling route with escorts, we will not face the shortage of LPG and fuels. Our vehicles are ready but we are yet to receive the approval from the RSTA,” said Mahesh Gurung, the Manager.

Despite all these problems, the fuel depot management said that they have been constantly providing fuels and LPG cylinders to those in emergencies.

Moreover, with the monsoon coming to end, the problem is expected to be solved soon.

Passang Dorji, Samtse

Edited by Tshering Zam 


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