Stocks started arriving from other dzongkhags, but not enough

Nima  | Gelephu

Over 50 people came out in a queue to purchase vegetables in the evening at Rabdeyling demkhong in Gelephu yesterday. In the queue were residents who waited for at least two days or more to get vegetables, calling vendors, and texting their list of vegetables. De-Suups and police were at the location, monitoring the crowd.

Nima Dorji from Gelephu came out of his home for the first time in six days to purchase vegetables. He returned home with a bagful of vegetables.  “We are not sure how long the lockdown would continue. I called for essential items and vegetables several times. The contact numbers were either switched off or busy,” he said.

He added that there was no information about vegetable supply at Rabdeyling. “Many are not aware. Information about the location should be shared properly,” said Nima Dorji.

Tenzin Wangchuk, a volunteer with Bhutan Red Cross Society said it was difficult to get essential items until FCB started to deliver. “Orders were placed through messages. I was told the essentials would reach within three days but it did not,” he said.

However, it was a busy week for Namgay, a vendor who was authorised to supply vegetables in the Chuzanggang area during the lockdown in the dzongkhag.

The vendor delivers vegetables to people until 11pm. Work resumes the next day early in the morning, trying to reach the essential on time.

He said that it was challenging to deliver vegetables on time because of the distance. “It was confusing when the call came from all over the places,” he said.

The vendor suggested working in collaboration with the gewog officials. “They could help us with the demand for vegetables in the gewog. We don’t have to move from place to place which is time-consuming and challenging,” said Namgay.

To cover the expenses for transportation, the vendor has increased the price of vegetables. One kilogram of potato is sold at Nu 40. Most vegetable authorised vendors in Gelephu ran out of stocks by August 15, the fifth day of the lockdown.

However, they received two DCM truckloads of vegetables from Wangdue yesterday.

“This would be able to meet the demand for one day. There are continuous calls for vegetables,” said Namgay.

A member of the Bhutan chamber of commerce industry in Gelephu, Ugyen Rabten said the authorised vendors couldn’t contact other vendors of the vegetable market as the lockdown happened suddenly.

“Only three were allowed to deliver vegetables in the beginning. The stocks of other vendors who were home during lockdown got damaged,” he said. He added that the available stock in the vegetable market could sustain only for five days.

To make delivery more efficient, plans are made to supply vegetables to designated shops in the six constituencies in the thromde.

Local farmers with the help of gewog extension officials are also trying to meet the demand during the lockdown.

Dzongkhag officials collected three bolero pick up truckloads of vegetable items from Jigmecholing and Dekiling gewog.

There are 11 authorised vendors supplying vegetables in the Sarpang Gelephu region today.

The vendors from the dzongkhag collected over three DCM truckloads of vegetables from other dzongkhags and supplied ginger to other dzongkhags.

There are no stocks of imported vegetable items today.