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India to restore subsidised gas supply to Bhutan from August 1

New Delhi, Jul 30, 2013 (PTI): 21:20 IST
Indian Oil Corporation facility
India will restore the supply of subsidised gas to Bhutan from August 1, a month after it was halted and became a campaign issue in the Himalayan Kingdom's second national polls.

"We have obtained and completed all clearances-- technical and administrative. We are ready to supply the subsidised cooking gas and kerosene from August one," officials sources said here today.

They also said the decision has been conveyed to the new Bhutanese government.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay met with the Indian Ambassador to Bhutan V P Haran at the Gyalyong Tshogkhang (National Assembly Hall) yesterday during which India's decision was conveyed, sources said.

Before the elections, the Indian Oil Corporation discontinued the supply of the subsidised fuel, on technical grounds with officials here maintaining that Bhutan's 10th Plan of under which India was providing such assistance expired on June 30.

India's subsidy cut to Bhutan gave rise to reports that the decision was taken in view of government's unhappiness with former Prime Minister and chief of ruling political party Druk Phuensum Tshogpa Jigme Thinley's proximity with China.

Meanwhile, Haran was introduced to the new Bhutanese Cabinet ministers and as per the press release from the Information and Media Division of the Office of the Prime Minister, Tobgay and the Ambassador discussed wide range of issues.

The Ambassador also conveyed government's invitation for the Prime Minister's visit to India which was accepted, and assured that he would make a visit to India at the earliest.

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) won a landslide victory in Bhutan's second national elections held on July 13. The PDP defeated Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) party by winning 32 seats out of the 47 in the National Assembly.

During the campaigning, the rival parties tried to impress upon voters that concerns like India's withdrawal of subsidy on kerosene and cooking gas would be resolved once they form the government.

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