.. essential items delivery reaches villagers in Dagana and Tsirang 

Chimi Dema | Tsirang

When the government announced lockdown, a resident in Dagana was stuck home without any money.

She had to borrow Nu 2,000 from her neighbour to buy essential food items last week.

“Although rice was not a problem, I had run out of other essentials like cooking oil and salt, as well as vegetables,” she said. “The little that I have grown was damaged by continuous rainfall over the past months.”

The 54-year-old villager from Samay chiwog in Tseza gewog paid the debt yesterday. She withdrew Nu 5,000 with the help of door-to-door banking service on August 20.

Like Badhum, other 372 individuals in Dagana and Tsirang without cellphone banking applications availed the services.

Bank of Bhutan (BoB) and Bhutan Development Bank Limited (BDBL) officials started delivering cash on August 16.

In Dagana, the BDBL catered to 80 individuals from 11 gewogs between August 19 and yesterday. The bank delivered around Nu 0.37 million (M). An individual could withdraw up to Nu 20,000.

The Tsirang Logistic team delivered about 52.2MT of rice to 12 gewogs as of August 20

The Tsirang Logistic team delivered about 52.2MT of rice to 12 gewogs as of August 20

While many clients opted for withdrawal, a few deposited cash. As of yesterday, BDBL received about Nu 70,000 in deposits.

Financial institutes focal person and also BDBL branch manager in Dagana, Namgyel Dorji said that apart from withdrawal and deposit services, clients were also provided with fund transfer services.

For residents in LhamoiDzingkha Dungkhag, the cash delivery service is expected to begin today.

Namgyel Dorji said that the branch received calls from only a few individuals for cash withdrawal yesterday. “They will be catered services beginning today,” he said.

BoB in the dungkhag recorded 20 clients withdrawing more than Nu 0.2M until yesterday.

In Dagana and Dagapela, the bank catered to 51 individuals.

The Tsirang BOB branch saw 187 individuals from Kilkhorthang, Semjong and Mendrelgang gewogs opting for the cash delivery service.

The branch provided the services through designated officials since August 16. The branch manager said that many individuals withdrew between Nu 5,000 and Nu 10,000.

“The officials also cater to queries and problems regarding digital banking services,” the manager said.

The official also said that the bank caters services to residents based on the recommendation from the dzongkhag Covid-19 task force.

Village tshogpas collect and share information on those who need cash and route it through the gups to the task force.

The BDBL branch in Tsirang delivered around Nu 0.175M to 35 clients from four gewogs of Tsholingkhar, Rangthaling, Mendrelgang and Semjong. The bank has fixed a withdrawal ceiling of Nu 15,000.

Security personnel or De-Suups also accompany bank officials during service delivery to ensure safety and to monitor that the health safety protocols are maintained.

Namgyel Dorji said that the gewog administrations have supported the vehicles for the delivery of cash. However, some bank officials have also volunteered to provide the services using their vehicles.

Meanwhile, Tsirang logistic team delivered about 52.2 metric tonnes (MT) of rice to 12 gewogs from the Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) depot in Damphu as of August 20.

It included 4,500 liters (L) of cooking oil, 690 kilograms (kg) of sugar and about 1.35MT of salt, among other essentials. 

While the logistic team is coordinating the overall supply of essentials, gewog administrations are catering to the basic needs of the people.

Kilkhorthang gewog officials have created two teams and operate on an alternative basis to deliver essentials.

Gup Beda Moni Chamlagai said that this was to ensure minimum movement while people continued to receive services.

“The residents submit their requisition to respective tshogpas and essentials are delivered up to the door following the safety protocols,” the gup said. “We have completed two rounds of distribution so far.”

The Dagana logistic team delivered around 46.49MT of rice, 4,062L of cooking oil, 1.863MT of salt, 519kg of sugar and 236kg of milk powder, among others.

The team also delivered 141 packets of sanitary pads and 239 liquified petroleum gas cylinders.

Although roadblocks were reported at different sites along Sunkosh-Dagana highway over the past few days, gewog officials said that there was no major problem in delivering the essentials.

Tshangkha gup Tawla said that the FCBL outlet in the gewog has about 17,000MT of rice and an adequate amount of other essentials to sustain the residents.

The gewog has also identified six vehicles for essentials delivery and one vehicle for a medical emergency evacuation.

Nichula Gup Dilip Kumar Gurung said that gewog officials have delivered essentials to residents, enough to last at least two weeks since August 19.

The gup said that rice is not a problem as most farmers cultivated paddy. The gewog has about 82 households.