After rice shortage for almost a month, Food Corporation of Bhutan Ltd. (FCBL) replenished the second stock of 400 bags at the Sanam Tshongkhang in Sakteng yesterday.

Two weeks ago, 280 bags of rice (weighing 25kg each) arrived at the outlet after the May roadblock.

The current shortage of goods at the Sanam Tshongkhang is due to the on-going excavation works on the road to the gewog. It is only during Sundays when the machines are idle that the residents clear their own way through the horse-trail and get their supplies from the nearest road point in Thrakthi.

One of the sales executives at the Sanam Tshongkhang, Yeshi, said that it is difficult to carry the rice through the narrow trail. “It becomes more difficult when it rains. Animals cannot walk through the narrow path with loads. Sometimes we lose a few loads on the way.”

There are about 36 horses assigned to carry the stocks from Thrakthi. On an average, it takes around four and half hours to reach the Sanam Tshongkhang.

In order to address the issue of rice shortage in the gewog, the sales executives have decided to implement a token system at the outlet.

Starting this month, the Sanam Tshongkhang will issue a card for every household, which will be required to buy commodities, especially rice from the outlet.

Yeshi said that the card would entitle each household a rice bag every month. He said that the system was initiated to stop the residents from hoarding the rice at their homes and to minimise the pressure on the tshongkhang.

With an average of six members in a household, some of the residents are not happy with the initiative.

“With three meals a day, 25kg of rice per month will not be enough for my family of six,” said a resident.

Yeshi said that rice will be distributed based on the token system, but it will also be subjected to the stock at the outlet. “If the stock is sufficient, we can always give away more than one bag per household. For now, though, this is the only reasonable decision we can think of.”

Officials from Department of Roads said that the work along the road would be completed only towards the end of 2018.

“Since the formation-cutting runs parallel to the horse-trail, minor blocks are expected to occur frequently,” said an official. “However, people can travel via the horse-trail as per the timing we have arranged. The roads are open during Sundays and other government holidays.”

Younten Tshedup