Lhakpa Quendren

Gelephu – With the establishment of new waiting sheds at the integrated checkpost (ICP) of the Gelephu border gate, both outgoing and incoming commuters no longer need to stand in the rain or sweltering heat while waiting for document examination.

The Gelephu Thromde administration initiated the waiting sheds at Nu 4 million following a directive from the Ministry of Home Affairs to provide shelter to the commuters during their wait at the border gate.

To facilitate the movement of people, the large waiting shed is equipped with polished stainless steel barricades adorned with red-flagging tape, as well as fans and a lighting system. Also, the small sheds on both sides of the gate to the Indian side are equipped with fans.

Gelephu Thrompon Tshering Norbu said that considering the large number of people entering and exiting, the thromde has immediately undertaken the project as part of the border gate renovation.

“The sheds are immensely benefiting the public as they have to wait while processing the document. The public also acknowledges the convenience that the sheds provide to them,” he said.

Given that the summer temperatures in Gelephu mostly reach 34 degree Celsius or even higher, travellers face challenges in harsh weather. Now the waiting shelters provide much-needed shelter for those passing through the border gate.

A commuter, Nima, said that the facility has not only improved the travel convenience to the neighbouring town of Dathgari, but also for Indians coming to Gelephu. “We don’t have to worry about getting drenched in the rain or scorched by the sun.”

A taxi operator, Tshering Dorji, said that the shed has also benefited the taxi operators during their long wait for the passengers at the gate. “In the past, we had to wait in the open spaces under the harsh weather, but we can now wait comfortably. It has made a big difference for us.”

About a thousand people travel across the border daily, while over two thousand people travel to the Dathgari market in Assam every Thursday, in addition to hundreds of Indian visitors coming to Gelephu daily.

Meanwhile, the Gelephu thromde administration also submitted the budget estimates to the Ministry of Home Affairs for the reconstruction of about 300 meters of boundary walls that collapsed due to the recent heavy rainfall.

Thrompon Tshering Norbu said that the thromde and relevant agencies assessed the situation after receiving a directive from the Department of Law and Order concerning the situation.

Since the boundaries are under CCTV camera surveillance, he said that it would effectively prevent the occurrence of potential illegal border crossings while waiting for reconstructions. “As a temporary measure, we have put up green nets along the border boundaries and are closely monitored by police.”

“We will immediately begin the reconstruction work once we secure the budgets. We also have to construct robust protective walls and floodways alongside the walls as the walls are quite aged,” said the Thrompon.