Neten Dorji | Trashigang

After the first phase of lockdown relaxation began in Merak, herders with their livestock are gradually moving home and to their summer pastureland.

Herders migrating from Thrimshing, Kangpara, Khaling, Radhi, Phongmay, Kanglung, Samkhar and Shongphu were allowed to move to their respective summer pasturelands in the highlands in Merak and Sakteng.

However, herders migrating from Shingkhar-Luari, Khiliphu and Khashateng were allowed to move to their summer pastureland after testing negative on RT-PCR.

“Herders who tested negative on RT-PCR were allowed to move to their summer pastureland after signing an undertaking letter,” Merak Gup, Lam Rinchen said.  “All herders should undergo seven-day mandatory pastureland quarantine and they are allowed to move into the villages.”

He said that the gewog administration is strictly following Covid-19 protocols.

Herders signed an undertaking letter with the gewog administration stating they would implement Covid-19 protocols strictly. The undertaking letter mandates the herders to ensure they move straight to their summer pastures and follow the health protocols strictly.

“Before signing the undertaking letter, we explained that whoever fails to follow the Covid-19 protocols will be dealt with by the rules of Covid-19,” said the gup. “People also agreed to adhere to the rules.”

The last three herders in Shingkhar Lauri and 14 herders in Lokshina returned home with their livestock yesterday.

Highlanders said that not many people come out of their homes. “Moving out of the village is a big deal since the case emerged from our village,” said a highlander. “The pandemic situation has improved gradually here. People need to understand that we don’t have any positive cases in our village.”

In Sakteng gewog, more than 25 herders entered their summer pastureland on June 24. All tested negative on RT-PCR.

Sakteng Gup, Sangay Dorji said that since the gewog was declared as a high-risk area, timely supplies of essentials are affected.  “The problem of exporting livestock products, procuring construction materials and transportation problems are arising.”

The number of individuals who chose to travel out of gewog is increasing, the gup said, and the gewog is facing a shortage of quarantine facilities.  “In a week, a minimum of 10 people want to move out after seven-day quarantine.”

Meanwhile, students of Merak School are continuing online classes.

Edited by Tshering  Palden