Kelzang Wangchuk |  Samdrupjongkhar

A 37-year-old man from Jomotshangkha in Samdrupjongkhar is quarantined for allegedly crossing the border on the night of November 15.

Officials in Jomotsangkha confirmed that the case would be forwarded to the court after the man completes 21 days quarantine period for breaching the Covid-19 protocol.

“He would be charged for criminal nuisance and breach of public order and tranquillity and for illegal smuggling of tobacco products,” an official said.

According to sources, the accused went to a nearby border town in Assam, India, around 9pm of November 15. Police team patrolling the area saw him crossing the border and alerted the outpost security.

“The man returned after five to 10 minutes and that was when he was arrested. He was then put in the facility quarantine,” said a source. “He will have to bear the quarantine expenditures because he breached the Covid-19 protocol.”

Upon interrogation, the accused told officials that he had crossed the border to buy chewing tobacco, as it is not available in Jomotshangkha. The patrolling team seized four bundles of chewing tobacco from the accused.

Officials said that the drungkhag Covid-19 taskforce facilitated and allowed the import of tobacco products but it was stopped after Bhutan Duty Free Limited (BDFL) started distributing the products.

“People in gewogs request concerned authorities to lift the ban on import of the tobacco products as BDFL takes time to send the products to Jomotshangkha,” an official said.

The drungkhag incident commander, Jomotshangpa drungpa Lamdak Wangdi, said the task force would facilitate the import of tobacco products as people faced challenges to avail the products.