Don’t panic we have enough re­serves : PM

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

Due to con­tin­ued heavy rain over the past days, sev­eral dis­as­ters oc­curred across the coun­try es­pe­cially in the south­ern part of the coun­try.

How­ever, Prime Min­is­ter Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay at the press con­fer­ence last Fri­day said peo­ple should not panic by cre­at­ing short­age on food and fuel sup­plies since the coun­try have ad­e­quate re­serves.

To chal­lenge the in­con­ve­niences, the gov­ern­ment joined by the peo­ple from Royal Bhutan Army, Royal Bhutan Po­lice, DeSu­ups, Thromde and Drungkhag of­fi­cials, work­shop own­ers and other vol­un­teers to carry out the work.

Peo­ple across the coun­try and Bhutanese abroad have de­cided to raise fund for the af­fected. How­ever, Ly­onch­hen said fund rais­ing ac­tiv­ity is not re­quired as the gov­ern­ment have sep­a­rate bud­get for the disas­ter. He said, “We deeply ap­pre­ci­ate their gen­er­ous of­fer to carry out fund rais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to re­lief ef­forts of the gov­ern­ment,” adding fund ris­ing is not re­quired.

Talk­ing on the food, min­istry of agri­cul­ture and for­est Ly­onpo Yeshey Dorji said that the coun­try has re­serves of rice, salt and oil in the Food Cor­po­ra­tion of Bhutan (FCB) all over the coun­try dur­ing such disas­ter. He said, “We have in­formed all the FCB out­lets to dis­trib­ute food re­serves be- fore the heavy rain­fall,” adding ev­ery Dzongkhag has ad­e­quate food to last for three months at min­i­mum.

The food short­age in Nim­tola un­der Da­gana Dzongkhag re­cently was not the re­sult of lack­ing of food in the Dzongkhag FCB out­let but at the Ge­wog level as the Ge­wog does not have farm shop. How­ever, the pref­er­ence will be given to im­ple­ment farm shops in each and ev­ery Ge­wog. There­fore, there won’t be food short­age dur­ing such disas­ter.

With re­gard to the crop dam­age com­pen­sa­tion, the gov­ern­ment pro­vides free power tiller ser­vices and seeds to the af­fected house­holds. Over 30 acres of wet­land were af­fected and nine acres of land were washed away in Um­ling and Chuzer­gang in Gele­phu where some mi­nor af­fected in Sam­drupjongkhar and Samtse. “A re­tain­ing wall has been con­structed with the help of around 1,800 vol­un­teers from neigh­bor­ing vil­lages and civil ser­vants,” he said.

Ly­onchen said peo­ple shouldn’t have pan­icked on fuel which was quite un­nec­es­sary. “That was de­plet­ing the re­serves un­nec­es­sar­ily,” he said, adding 35 kilo­litres of petrol were be­ing dis­pensed in Thim­phu in one day be­cause of hoard­ing. “We never an­nounced that we were go­ing to ra­tion or

should be care­ful about the fuel,” he said.

Eco­nomic af­fairs min­is­ter Ly­onpo Lekey Dorji said there were enough re­sources for fuel re­serves. 35 kilo­litres of petrol and 32 kilo­litres of diesel were be­ing used daily. “Even at that rate we cal­cu­late that we could still go with­out pan­ick­ing for over 18 days,” Ly­onpo said, adding that cur­rently the coun­try needs only around 15 kilo­litres of fuel a day.

Ly­onpo said that even the cap­i­tal city has enough ca­pac­ity of 190,000 litres for petrol and 260,000 litres of diesel with the to­tal of 450,000 litres fuel re­serves in five de­pots. He said, “That was ac­tu­ally ad­e­quate re­serves to last for at least ten days.”

For back up, the gov­ern­ment also had 300,000 litres of petrol and 700,000 litres of diesel at Dechen­chol­ing as re­serves. He fur­ther added that there is no prob­lem since the five de­pot has 165,000 litres of petrol and 180,000 litres of diesel. Dechen­chol­ing re­serve had 66,000 itres of petrol and 501,000 litres of diesel as of Fri­day Ly­onpo added.

By Fri­day, 59 tankers had ar­rived with fuel and the gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to open sim­i­lar re­serve tanks in the east.

The min­is­ter for works and hu­man set­tle­ment Ly­onpo Dorji Cho­den said the Amochu recla­ma­tion project is fi­nal­ized with fund­ing from Asian Devel­op­ment Bank (ADB). She said, “Once the recla­ma­tion project be­gins, there should be walls which is big and strong enough to pro­tect the set­tle­ments around it.”

Talk­ing on the Sarpang town, a new town area has been iden­ti­fied in Shay­changth­ang and a lo­cal area plan, map and plot­ting are com­pleted. “Once the res­i­dents have their lagth­rams, they can start con­struc­tion in the new town plan area which will be safe from floods,” she said.

As hos­pi­tals are run­ning out of oxy­gen, with the help of Royal Bhutan Army, trucks load of around 400 num­bers of oxy­gen cylin­ders were trans­shipped to en­sure enough stock at the JDWNRH in Thim­phu.

The gov­ern­ment has de­cided to keep a pro­vi­sion of at least a week’s sup­ply for all time. Ly­onch­hen said that the gov­ern­ment also de­cided to de­velop a fa­cil­ity to re­fill the cylin­ders in­side the coun­try with­out hav­ing to send it out­side for re­plen­ish­ing.

How­ever, the af­fected fam­i­lies have been ren­dered all pos­si­ble as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing food and shel­ter. The re­lief team con­tin­ues to be ac­tive and mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

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