Samtse: More than a month since Samtse dzongkhag authority wrote to the Jalpaiguri magistrate seeking compensation for the damages of nine vehicles belonging to Bhutanese individuals, the dzongkhag has not received any response from the magistrate.

Samtse dzongkhag requested for compensation, following public outrage in the bordering town of Chamarchi on November 23, 2014 following the death of an Indian maid in Samtse.

Two vehicles were burned and seven damaged.  Authorities in Samtse on November 27 wrote to the district magistrate requesting the Indian counterpart to take necessary action for the compensation on the loss.

However, Samtse dzongda Karma Woezir said the dzongkhag has now forwarded the matter to the home ministry. “The ministry will follow up,” the dzongdag said.

Meanwhile, the damaged vehicles were handed over to the owners recently.

However, the owners doubt if they will ever get compensated for the loss.  They say police from across the border handed over the vehicles.

“It should have been from their officials to our officials and to us,” the owner said, explaining that it was a sensitive issue.

One of the owners of the damaged vehicle, Thinley Dorji, a taxi driver, said he was worried if the insurance company (RICBL) where his car was insured would compensate for the damage.

“I’ve had negative responses,” he said, explaining the insurance company had told him the cause of the damage couldn’t be defined in their policy. “The insurance company told me they don’t compensate for war and terrorism damages.”

Thinley Dorji told Kuensel the damage to their cars doesn’t fall under “war and terrorism.”  It happened all of a sudden, he said, adding he has written twice to the insurance company.

Of the nine, four vehicles were insured, out of which one didn’t have much damage.  The other two that were damaged were a Santro and a Celerio.

Another taxi driver affected is Buddha Singh Rai.  His car was insured with the Bhutan Insurance limited (BIL).

“BIL said that I can’t claim my insurance, as the incident had occurred during a strike,” the cabbie said. “But the incident transpired out of a sudden.”

Buddha Singh Rai said people would not have gone to Chamarchi in the first place, had there been a strike at the border, then the gate would have been sealed.

The two taxi drivers also said that it has become hard on them, since their livelihood had depended on their taxis.  The duo is requesting that the insurance companies pay them their claims.

By Rajesh Rai