Farmers from across the country, who have been in Phuentsholing since last week to auction their potatoes, might have to wait as buyers from across the border will attend the chhad puja today and tomorrow.

Some farmers have been waiting for more than 10 days due to Diwali festival.

The number of trucks loaded with potatoes increased at the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) auction yard. As of yesterday, there were more than 190 truckloads at the yard.

Phub Dorji from Phobjikha was seen staring at the notice that had the list of the number of vehicles at the auction yard. His chance to auction would not come anytime soon. “I have no idea when it is going to happen.”

To save logistic cost, he and his cousin live under a tarpaulin sheet that they use to cover the potatoes at night.

He said that the truck driver left as his business was affected while waiting for the auction. “I paid half the transportation cost.”

Another farmer from Phobjikha, Lobzang Tenzin, who also owns a truck, said he spent a lot on food in the last 12 days. “I sleep in the truck.”

He said that while the notice states that he could auction today, it does not look possible.

Farmers said fights occur between drivers and farmers due to the current problem.

“I suggest that FCBL allow buyers to take whatever they want and pay us later,” Lobzang Tenzin said. “That would at least help us unload the potatoes.”

Because of space problem, drivers park the trucks everywhere and traffic police penalise them.

“We are losing from all corners,” a farmer, Dorji Drakpa, said.

FCBL’s complex manager, Ugyen Penjor, said that space was the major problem. “There was an empty space near our auction yard but the land belonged to thromde and construction has started there.”

FCBL also does not have a cold storage.

Ugyen Penjor said that FCBL officials would sacrifice the Chukha Tshechu holiday, which begins October 28 until October 30 for the farmers’ benefit.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing