Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing
Export of boulders from Phuentsholing has not resumed after it was stopped on April 17, following the third lockdown in the town.
Exporters and transporters are now worried about imminent losses without business activities.
As it has already started raining, some are also worried the stock could get washed away.
During the second lockdown in December 2020, boulders were exported smoothly without any hindrance. Proper protocols and containment measures were in place.
This time the export has not resumed despite the April 16 letter by the Incident Management Team (IMT), which said that export would be facilitated.
One exporter, Pema Khenrab, said that while boulder export is yet to resume, Bhutanese trucks were stuck in Jaigaon.
Proprietor of KRC Transport, Karma Rinzin, who also exports boulders, said he did not understand why the export stopped.
“We also don’t know what to do,” he said.
KRC has a stock of over 7,000 metric tonnes of boulders and about Nu 4 million (M) has been blocked without the export, Karma Rinzin said.
Another exporter, Dorji Wangdi, said given the huge containment zone at Toorsa and the people involved in export testing negative, it was confusing why the export is not allowed.
“I also have about 15 trucks in Jaigaon,” he said, adding that he had purchased boulders worth Nu 800,000, which he was expecting to export before the lockdown.
The trucks will have to bear parking fees and the driver payments.
Dorji Wangdi said keeping the vehicles across the border was risky.
After the lockdown started, exporters say movement permits were also given. More than 200 people involved in boulder exports were also tested for the virus and all had come out negative.
Exporters also say the lockdown has affected them in clearing the Letter of Credits from the banks. However, even if the export starts now, the exporters said Bangladesh will have festival season until May 21.