Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

A fruit vendor at the vegetable complex in Phuentsholing, Lamkey, had no idea what was coming his way when he bought fruits worth Nu 260,000 on August 10 from across the border.

Next day, the government would declare a nationwide lockdown.

Lamkey, who lives in Rinchending, could not make it to his fruit stall. All his fruits had rotten away when he returned after the relaxation. Some were stolen.

“I tried contacting several offices so that I could go and save my fruits from rotting. But it was not possible,” he said.

Lamkey said that he had not yet paid for the fruits.

Although he could not recover the loss, Lamkey, who has been selling fruits since 2006, has a message for fruit and vegetable sellers in the town and government authorities, should there be another lockdown in the future.

“My loss should be a lesson. All must be ready and prepared,” he said. “Should there be another lockdown, the government authorities must have some system planned so that we can save such perishable items.”

As the government has not allowed import of fruits, vendors are managing with homegrown fruits. Apple, banana and pear are the main fruits at the stalls.

Lamkey said the one day’s sales that went up to Nu 5,000 to Nu 6,000 prior to the lockdown had now decreased to Nu 800 to Nu 1,500.

Another fruit seller, Pemba, also lost fruits worth Nu 40,000 during the lockdown.

“I panicked and went to Kamji after the lockdown was announced on the early morning of August 11,” he said. “Later, I wanted to come and try if FCBL could buy my fruits and sell them back but it was not possible.”

Should there be another lockdown, concerned authorities could sell our produces to FCBL so that there is no wastage, Pemba said.

“Sales are definitely not good. At times, my sales stagnate at Nu 500 in a day.”

There are only three fruit sellers at the vegetable complex today.