About 10 police personnel and five foresters are deployed at Gangchenphu in Lunana to keep a strict watch on intruders from other dzongkhags and illegal collection of cordyceps.

The deployment was made following a dispute last week where about 1,000 cordycep collectors from four gewogs of Kazhi, Sephu, Dangchu and Gangtey in Wangduephodrang had encroached the gewog demarcation and intruded into Gangchenphu, the demarcated harvesting site for Lunana.

On May 27, concerned gups and other officials including security personnel were air lifted to the site.

The rules and regulation of cordycep collection, harvesting and marketing states that collection of Ophiocordyceps sinensis shall be allowed only within the respective gewog boundary or administrative jurisdiction. Concerned gups are authorised to issue collection permits and ensure that only eligible collector harvest the cash crop within the demarcated boundary.

Agriculture secretary, Rinzin Dorji said that the jurisdiction and guideline is clear. But the gups of Sha in Wangdue, he said issued the permit, allowing their people to collect cordyceps from Gangchenphu, which is not within their jurisdiction.

“We are finding out how the local government went wrong in issuing the permit,” he said. The home ministry is also informed about the issue and discussion is on as to what could be done to resolve such problems in future.

He said that the situation in Lunana is back to normal since May 30.

“Everything is peaceful now and people intruding the site have left,” he said.

On the ministry’s request, he said that the Royal Bhutan Police has deployed few personnel in a couple of range offices within the Jigme Dorji National Park in addition to the 10-men force in Gangchenphu.

“We will keep strict watch and seize the harvest if illegal collection happens,” he said adding that there are already a dozen foresters regularly monitoring the collection sites.

After a cycle of every five years, cordyceps harvest is expected to be bountiful. This time the site is Gangchenphu. Officials said this could be the reason why people from Sha were in Lunana.

“But if harvest in my kitchen garden is poor, I cannot go and harvest from other’s garden,” the agriculture secretary said.

Tshering Dorji