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No fuel shortage: Oil distributors

སྤེན།, 06/17/2022 - 11:36

Thukten Zangpo

Although the economic affairs ministry notified the public that there would be no fuel supply interruption in the country, many people were still rushing to fuel depots to refuel their cars since June 14.

After rumours spread in Thimphu that there would be fuel price hikes and supply disruptions, demand for fuel increased.

The notification did not stop people from turning up in large numbers at fuel depots.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) explained that the two Indian principal companies, Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, supplying fuel to Bhutan have completed successful registration of import and export code at Land Custom Station at Jaigoan on June 14.

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It was mandatory for the exporters and importers to register the import and export code in the new Indian Customs EDI Gateway system at all ports of entry.

According to the ministry, the supply lines of fuel have been normalised and fuel tankers are already on the way from Phuentsholing to replenish the stock in different stations in the country.

Oil distributors also assured that there is a continuous supply of fuel in the depots and would be adequate for all.

The regional manager at Tashi Bhutan Oil Distributors (BoD) in Lungtenzampa, Dendup Tshering, said the demand for fuel surged by more than 50 percent because of the rumour.

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On June 14, about 1,000 cars queued in the depot.

The depot sold 42,000 litres of petrol in a day, unlike 10,000 litres on usual days. Similarly, the depot sold 27,000 litres of diesel from 12,000 litres.

Dendup Tshering said that the depot receives about 29,000 litres of petrol and 30,000 litres of diesel in a day.

An official from Damchen Petroleum in Changzamtok said that because of the increased demand, the petrol finished at 8pm on June 15.

The depot received 4,500 litres of petrol and 12,000 litres of diesel on the same day.

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“This time the demand for petrol increased to 4,500 litres in a day compared to the usual 1,500 litres. The demand for diesel increased to 6,000 litres from 2,400 litres,” an official said.

Meanwhile, MoEA stated that if there were a requirement for emergency fuel supplies, they would supply from the fuel depot at Thinchupangkha, Chunzom, which has 1,000 kilolitres each of petrol and diesel to last for two weeks.

Multiple slides block eastern highways 

སྤེན།, 06/17/2022 - 11:35

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

The Samdrupjongkhar-Trashigang highway remained closed for traffic yesterday following multiple roadblocks due to the continuous rain for the past few days.

However, the landslides are expected to be cleared and the highway opened to traffic today if the rain subsides.

The Project DANTAK and the Department of Roads (DoR) workers tried to clear the blocks along the highway but continuous rain and bad weather conditions hampered their efforts.

The chief engineer with the regional DoR office in Samdrupjongkhar, Kinzang Wangchuk, said there are numerous minor and about five major blocks at 22 kilometres (km), 39km, 75km, 77km and 83km.

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He said the Project DANTAK and the DoR workers cleared the minor blocks but could not clear the major blocks because of continuous slides and falling boulders.

“We’re carrying out the clearing work and would open the highway for traffic if the rain subsides but the situation would become worse if the rain continues today,” Kinzang Wangchuk said.

Meanwhile, the Pemagatshel-Nganglam highway is closed to traffic with several blocks since yesterday. The Tshelinggor-Khothakpa highway was also closed as a landslide washed away the Khothakpa bypass.

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The chief engineer said that they were trying to mobilise machinery from State Mining Corporation Limited (SMCL) to clear a new foundation of the road. “We hope the SMCL will help us.”

He said the officials and labourers also evacuated the shops and people near the highway at Tsenkari in Nganglam, Pemagatshel, from the flash flood yesterday. “There were no casualties.”

The commuters said that it would help if project DANTAK workers could continue clearing the block after 5pm. “They do not work after 5pm at present,” commuters said.

Project DANTAK officials said that although they are clearing the block, continuous rain and foggy weather at the site hamper the works.

“It’s also important for us to maintain the safety of the labourers as these are landslide-prone areas,” an official said.

Pema Center secretariat  established

སྤེན།, 06/17/2022 - 11:34

On the Royal Command of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen, the Pema Center Secretariat, an agency to spearhead Bhutan’s national response to mental health, has been established.

Her Majesty graced the inauguration ceremony of the secretariat yesterday morning, where prayers were performed for an auspicious start to the initiative.  

The secretariat aims to help build a society that promotes the mental health and well-being of all Bhutanese. 

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It will support policies and develop programs to support mental health, foster multi-sectoral partnerships, engage communities, and establish a proactive service delivery network. It will also help introduce and improve treatments, therapy and rehabilitation services. 

The secretariat has three core divisions: Self-harm Prevention, Violence Prevention and Response, and Substance Use Prevention and Care. Their collective mandate is to make proactive and reliable mental health services accessible for all. The team’s first steps towards this include setting up channels through which those in need of services can seek help, and systems to support them as well as their families and caregivers. 

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The secretariat is comprised of a board and staff from a diverse set of backgrounds, working under the guidance of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen.