Chimi Dema  | Gelephu

With schools closed and teachers conducting  lesson online education, students and parents have been rushing to mobile shops in Gelephu the last few days.

Their choice is mostly medium-priced mobile phones.

Students say mobile phones have become a basic necessity now.

A class 12 student in Kuendrup Higher Secondary School, Pema Wangda, said it is his first time using a mobile phone.

He said he asked his family to buy him a phone fearing he would be missing out the lessons teachers sent online.

As of March 27, many stores in the town had run out of stock for medium-sized and affordable phones.

According to shopkeepers, about 20 phones were sold every day in the past week.

Many shopkeepers Kuensel talked to claimed that phones were charged the actual price they bought it considering the current situation.

“Freebies including tempered glass and free data allowance, talk time and SMS pack were also given along with a few phones,” a shopowner said.

It was learnt that B-mobile and Tashi Cell outlets have been receiving increased customers.

Currently, there are 10 mobile stores in Gelephu Town.

Meanwhile, given the need for phones for those students from disadvantaged family, a shop owner, Jiwan Puri, donated two mobile phones to two students.

He said he donated as there were students without anyone to support even when there is a need.

A beneficiary, a class 12 student, said he couldn’t afford to buy one even when there was a need.

He said that he has been seeing his friends using mobile phone and discussing studies online but he couldn’t. “The new phone facilitated me to continue education online. I can also talk to my relatives who are far away in the village and I remain grateful for the opportunity.”

He is from Chhukha but was raised by his aunt and uncle since his parents passed away. When the school is closed, he lives with his teacher and learning organic farming besides studies.

He said that his teachers have been helping him with data packages.

Another recipient, a class eight student, said she was worried about continuing education online without a phone. “I am happy that I can now study online with the help of the phone,” she said.