Nima Wangdi 

People living in Thimphu’s remotest gewog, Lingzhi, could buy grocery items at same price like those in the town areas did. The establishment of Sonam Tshongkhag made it possible.

However, since late last year, people had to buy food items from Paro and Thimphu because the Sanam Tshongkhang did not replenish stock.

Lingzhi Gup, Wangdi, during the dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) on May 17, submitted the issue to the session and requested that Sanam Tshongkhang be reopened.

He said that the shop made people’s lives easier, as they did not have to travel all the way to Paro and Thimphu for shopping. “But the Food Corporation of Bhutan ltd, (FCBL) discontinued it for whatever not clear to us.”

Soe Gup, Kencho Dorji, said that the Sanam Tshongkhang in his gewog has also been closed and submitted that reopening it would help the people in the gewog immensely.

A representative from FCBL said that the Sanam Tshongkhang in these gewogs were opened on the condition that the transportation cost from Shana Zam in Paro until the destinations be born by the ministry of agriculture and forest (MoAF). “The ministry had discontinued paying the transportation, which forced FCBL to discontinue restocking the shops.”

FCBL, he said, is ready to re-open the shops if MoAF pays the transportation cost.

“FCBL submitted the transportation bills and the ministry has not approved yet.”

He said the shops could also be re-opened if the people are ready to bear the transportation costs.

Wangdi said that if the transportation cost were to be clubbed with the price of the commodity, people would not be able to buy essential items.

If a sack of 25-kg rice costs Nu 1,300, with transportation cost amounting to Nu 1,250, the price will be double.

He said that with the changing governments, such essential services should not be played with. “Even if new services are not initiated, the already established ones should not be discontinued.”

Chief Dzongkhag Agriculture Office, Sonam Zangpo, said he was told that the agreement was between FCBL and Department of Agriculture and Marketing Cooperatives. “The dzongkhag does not have anything to do with it.”

DT decided to write to MoAF through the Members of Parliament.

Naro Gup Gem Tshering also requested for the establishment of Sanam Tshongkhang is Naro.