Residents of Dagana town and the nearby areas are still awaiting the State Trading Corporation of Bhutan to start the construction of a new fuel depot. The Dagana District Administration has allotted 40 decimals of land in Tsanglekha in Tseza Gewog to the STCBL for the cause. And the work, according to the STCBL, will start in August this year.
Without a fuel depot in the town, people have to travel to Dagapela which is more than 40 kilometres away. Drivers said they are wasting more than five litres of fuel just to refuel their vehicles. Some store fuel in containers.
“Without a depot, we are facing challenges. Farmers have to travel all the way to Dagapela and it is time-consuming and expensive. To plough a field, we need a power tiller which requires fuel. The land was allotted but nothing is happening in the area,” said Dawa Penjor, a resident.
“We have been struggling without a fuel depot in Dagana town. Soon there will be a new fuel depot which will benefit us. For now, we have to travel to Dagapela which takes one and a half hours,” said Passang Dorji Ghishing, a taxi driver.
“As a businessman, we have to depend on vehicles for transportation. So, without a fuel depot here we have to go to Dagapela to refuel the vehicle. Moreover, we are facing a problem in getting LPG cylinders. The hoteliers are struggling,” said Ugyen Dorji, a shopkeeper.
To ease the problem, the Tseza Gewog administration and the district administration had allotted 40-decimal land in Tsanglekha for the construction of the fuel depot. According to the Gewog administration, they have issued the clearance certificates since March last year to begin construction.
“The land is state land. No objection letter, and Gewog and forest clearance certificates were all issued and the district administration has also transferred the ownership,” said Samten Jamtsho, Tseza Gup.
“After identifying the land in Tseza Gewog, we have provided the land lease certificate to the company. We were excited about the construction and we are following up with the company. From their side, they are planning to start it soon. They want to start construction after completing the works in Gelephu and Tsirang,” said Sonam Jamtsho, Planning Officer.
According to Sugan Pradhan, the General Manager of the Petroleum division of STCBL, the work got delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company is currently working on the drawings of the fuel station and plans to start the construction by August.
“STCBL has a plan to set up a fuel outlet at Tseza gewog under Dagana Dzongkhag. We will try to start construction by August. At present, we are designing the drawing and doing an estimate of the project. After getting approval, we will start the work by August. The board has already approved the budget. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to defer the project and Dagana is affected.”
Once complete, the travellers who use the Dagana-Kamichhu bypass will also be benefitted.
There are more than 100 vehicles in Dagana town and nearby areas.