Tshering Namgyal 

Sakteng drungkhag administration has procured 20 bedding materials for each of the Merak and Sakteng gewogs for use in quarantine facilities.

Residents of the two gewogs, who will have to stay in quarantine if they want to travel out of the gewogs, will use the bedding and the heating system.

The two gewogs are categorized as high-risk areas.

Sakteng Drungpa Sangay Dawa said the bedding set with mattress, inner quilt, pillow, and blankets reached the drungkhag office recently. 

He said they have not yet been able to deliver the bedding sets to Merak because of the risks associated with travelling on the icy road. “We will deliver it when road conditions improve.”

Meanwhile, Merak residents who have stayed in the quarantine facility, have been complaining about the room conditions, food, and other services in the facility.

A gewog meeting hall was converted into a quarantine facility.

Residents said the meeting hall has broken glass in its windows.

They also said it was difficult to stay in quarantine, as there was no heating system or bedding.

A resident, Wangdi, said they could not arrange bedding and a bukhari from home. “Heavy and continuous snowfall made it difficult for us.”

Another resident, Sangay Dorji, said even the firewood is wet and cooking outside the hall was torturous. “Sometimes, there is no water because of the ice and we have to go to bed on empty stomachs.”

He said he has gone into quarantine thrice and paid the expenditures for himself once.

Merak gewog administrative officer, Sonam Tenzin, said the government has been providing three meals to all those who have been staying in the quarantine facility, although people have to cook the meals themselves.

He said the gewog had previously provided two electric heaters, rice cookers, and curry cookers but stopped after they were damaged. “But the gewog has ordered five bukharis from Khaling in Trashigang. We will keep them in the halls.”

It was learnt women are kept in the community centre office.

Drungpa Sangay Dawa also said there was miscommunication and gewog administration allowed eight people to stay at their own expense in the quarantine facility following the initial government circular, which was replaced.

He said they are planning to reimburse them. “We have informed them accordingly.”

Records maintained by the Merak gewog administration showed that 500 people have stayed in the quarantine facility since July of last year after the two gewogs were declared as red zone.