We saw a drama of another sort unfurled on June 13 in Thimphu as many car owners swarmed the fuel stations in the capital city following rumors of a fuel shortage in the country.
The rumor that fuel will not be available in Thimphu due to price hikes and supply disruptions had spread like wildfire that vehicles started queuing up to fuel their cars, causing traffic jams, and bringing traffic to almost a halt starting from the afternoon of June 13.
The situation had only aggravated by the evening as the queue of vehicles only got bigger and longer. Some fuel stations by then had already run out of petrol.
For those wanting to refuel their cars from the new fuel outlet in Ramtoktok, vehicles had started queuing up all the way from Olakha. Those en route to fill up their car at the Ramtokto fuel outlet claimed of having taken not less than four hours in the queue to fuel up their car.
The unending queue of vehicles, which had been there, only made traffic slow and worse. The situation had become such that it took almost four and half hours for some to reach the Ramtoktok fuel depot from the Welcome Gate in Babesa, which is just a distance of less than a kilometer.
Apart from the long queue of vehicles, there was also a long queue of people with jerry cans that thronged the already crowded fuel stations. Traffic jams, as a result, were inevitable on the way leading in and out of the town and on the expressway from Babesa to Namseling.
The ruckus and commotion that continued for more than five hours on the main roads and at fuel stations could have been averted if at least the government or the concerned government agencies such as the economic affairs ministry or the trade department could have issued or made an announcement of the rumors of the fuel shortage being baseless. They could have helped address the fear and panic that had set in among the people.
It was only later, an hour before midnight, on June 13 that the trade department or the economic affairs ministry cared to inform through its Facebook page of the rumors of fuel non-availability being false. The trade department and the ministry also requested the general public not to panic and rush for fueling vehicles and assured that fuel supply will be normal from tomorrow (June 14).
The ruckus and commotion that were there for fuel could have also been averted if our general people had been more sensible and acted responsibly. Giving easily to panicking and rushing for everything, whenever there are such cases, is only doing more harm than helping in addressing the problem in an amicable way.