Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

With more Bhutanese living across the border moving to Phuentsholing and many travellers quarantined, the point of entries (PoE) initiated to battle the Covid-19 are getting busier in Phuentsholing.

Fifty people were quarantined on March 18, taking the total number of quarantined people to 86.

Bhutan Post’s bus that returned from Kolkata on March 18 evening with 24 passengers was isolated. Passengers details were filled in the health declaration forms and moved to quarantine facilities respectively.

With the news of the first Covid-19 positive case in Kolkata, vigilance among the people has drastically increased. 

In the town, water tanks have also been installed in several key areas. Many people use them but there are still a few who don’t use the facilities. Response officials are urging people to use the facilities as much as possible.

Phuentsholing drungpa Karma Rinchen said that they would introduce a permit system, where people will have to show as and when they enter and exit the gates.

He said it is to monitor that no Bhutanese would sneak inside Phuentsholing without revealing their travel history.

Meanwhile, at 7:50pm of March 18, Ugyen Dema, 29, and Nima Zangmo, 30, were busy cleaning their new room. It was a classroom in one of the schools in Phuentsholing. Both were living in Chinese Lane until yesterday.

Ugyen Dema, a housewife, said it was risky living across the border.

“The virus would infect most of us if it is reported in Jaigaon,” she said, adding that they were also advised to shift and not wait for the worst-case scenario.

Prior to shifting to the classroom yesterday, Ugyen Dema and Nima Zangmo said they went to look for rental apartments but couldn’t find one below Nu 12,000 a month.

Their families have taken the classroom. They brought items they needed and would continue paying the house rent in Chinese Lane.

Jigme Choden, who stayed in Gumba Road, said her family has transported important items such as cookers in a room provided in one of the schools in Phuentsholing thromde.

“Today, we will shift and start staying there,” she said, adding there are four members with two children.

Jigme Choden also said that most of her neighbours in Gumba Road have shifted. Although she tried to get a house for rent in Phuentsholing, she said it was difficult to get one.

“When I got a house, the rent was exorbitantly high, up to Nu 20,000 per month,” she said.

Another Bhutanese living in Pragati Toll across the border, Thinley Wangchuk, said he is adjusting with a cousin for about a week before he shifts to the accommodation the government would provide for his family.

“Although the cousin’s house is packed, we will adjust here for some time,” he said.

Thinley Wangchuk works in one of the industries in Pasakha. However, his company doesn’t have accommodation facilities.