… recipients share what it meant for them

Nima Wangdi 

A 27-year old woman in Samdrup Jongkhar became destitute. She could not go to work for the last two months after the Covid-19 restrictions were implemented. She had been raising an 18-month baby girl, her old mother and an elder brother who is bedridden. Her husband left her a year ago.

She works for a private construction company as a helper and she is the sole bread earner in the family. Given her obligations, she could barely manage her family. She has not paid her house rents for many months now.

The situation worsened when she could not go to work. Her office could not pay her.

“I borrowed from my relatives for the first month. I hesitated to ask again,” she said. Her worry of family members going hungry was mounting by each day.

With no option left, she applied for the Druk Gyalpo’s Relief Kidu (DGRK). It rescued them.

“I received rations for my family and that was an immeasurable relief. I thank my King who would never let his subjects suffer under any circumstances,” she said. “We’re lucky.”

Now with restrictions lifted, she said that she would soon be able to earn and live a normal life. “I should also be able to pay my house rents.”

A 57-year old man in Wangdue also received ration Kidu. He is a daily wager and his income stopped when he was not allowed to go to work due to travel restrictions.

“I could manage for the first month but could not from the second month,” the man said. He received ration kidu.

“I received rice, cooking oil, milk powder, cheese, sugar and Dhal,” he said.

He has been living alone after he divorced a few years ago. “I help my children when I earn,” he said.

A 75-year-old man, who also works in Wangdue received ration Kidu recently. The Kidu recipient works for a private company and he doesn’t own a mobile phone.

A neighbour helped him for the first month. The help stopped after the neighbour’s salary stopped. “He helped the man register for the Kidu and the Kidu officials delivered essentials recently.”

A press release from the DGRK, issued on March 21 stated that ration support to households in need of immediate aid during the lockdowns were provided since August 2020. “Between January 16 and March 20, 2022, a total of 1,033 households received ration support.” The majority of the recipients are in Wangduephodrang, Thimphu, Punakha and Sarpang.

The Office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon facilitated ration support in person in Thimphu and Dzongkhag Kidu Officers distributed in other dzongkhags.


Income support

According to the press release, the DGRK has provided income support Kidu to 54,783 individuals from April 14, 2020 to date. All of these individuals have received Kidu at least once over the past 23 months. “Monthly child support Kidu to around 7,000 children of the applicants have also been provided. As of February 2022, Nu 4,163.33 million has been disbursed.”

On average, 11 applications were received daily till December 2021, which had dropped to three applicants daily in the month of January 2022, just before the lockdown. “Applications surged with the announcement of the lockdown,” the press release stated.

Some 15,638 applications were received between January 16 and March 20, 2022 of which 8,132 (52 percent) has applied for the first time according to the press release. “Most of the recent applications were from the construction, transportation, and retail sectors.”

“A significant number of applications were received from those living in Thimphu, Sarpang, Paro, Chukha, and Wangduephodrang,” the press release stated.

The DGRK is disbursed directly into the recipients’ bank accounts. For those without bank accounts, the Dzongkhag Kidu Officers have delivered the DGRK amount in cash. “Information on DGRK is available at www.royalkidu.bt,” the press release stated.

The hotline numbers for DGRK are 1185, 1186, 1187 and 1188. Those living in Phuentsholing can call 1184.