Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

The Bhutan-India Friendship Association (BIFA) in Samdrupjongkhar distributed essential food items to about 550 Indian families living across the border yesterday.

The items would be distributed to people who had been working in Samdrupjongkhar as daily wagers before the closure of the border gate and lockdown in India.

The member advisor of BIFA in Samdrupjongkhar, Tshering Namgyel, said that they are distributing the essential items to those people across the border who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“They have provided their services to us during good times. It is also our responsibility to look after their problems during such difficult times,” he said, adding that the essential items were arranged based on the reports submitted by the Society Workers Association (SWA) in India.

He said that they have distributed 10 kilogrammes (kg) of rice, a kg of sugar, salt, dal, potato and a litre of vegetable oil to each affected family. “The items would be distributed fairly as we have issued a token to all affected individuals.”  

He added that the initiative is also a testimony of friendship and solidarity the two countries share, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other members of the association said the essential items distributed yesterday were only for the 550 affected families. “There could be more families affected by the pandemic. We’ve asked them to contact their owners in Samdrupjongkhar and submit the details to the BIFA,” said a member in Samdrupjongkhar.

The association members in India said that such donations from their Bhutanese counterpart was encouraging as many of the Indian labourers who were working in  Bhutan are severely affected by the border closure and the lockdown situation in India. 

“We are happy to get donations during such crucial times from the member in Samdrupjongkhar. We are looking forward to similar support in the future,” BIFA member of India, Mojumdar said.