Local leaders accuse farm shops of inflating price

Nim Dorji | Trongsa

Local leaders in Trongsa are accusing that the farm shops established in gewogs, popularly known as ‘sanam tshongkhangs’ of inflating prices of commodities.

The issue was raised during the seventh dzongkhag tshogdu (DT), which concluded recently.

Tangsibji gup Gyembo Dorji said that Food Corporation of Bhutan (FCBL) opened ‘sanam tshongkhangs’ in gewogs to provide efficient and better service to the public. “But the price of some commodities are expensive compared to other shops.”

He said that if there is no improvement in the service, it would be better to close the shops.

Some of the local leaders said that if shops are to remain open, it should sell other essentials like spare parts of farm machinery and farm-related equipment.

Some of the local leaders said that a bag of rice, which cost about Nu 725 in shops cost Nu 790 in the farm shops.

A representative from FCBL explained that the price difference is due to transportation fee and the salary of the employee.

He said that FCBL did not receive any written complaints but requested people to ask for digital generated money receipt while buying from farm shops and asked to report if they see any difference in the amount.

She, however, said they are aware of the issues related to ‘sanam tshongkhangs’ and that FCBL is also suffering huge loss from the shops.

She said that with many places connected with road and many shops in the locality, only a few customers buy from the farm shops. “People prefer buying from the market and FCBL outlets in the town.”

It was learnt that FCBL discussed that ‘sanam tshonkhang’ would be opened only in remote gewogs in its annual meeting. They are also discussing what to do with the existing ‘sanam tshongkhangs’.

Meanwhile, FCBL official also explained they started franchises system, where the rent and goods are delivered by FCBL, and the employees could keep the profit but would not be paid salary.

The DT asked FCBL management to discuss and verify the issue related to the farm shops and report during the next DT session.

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