With only two days left for the poll day, truckers and potato farmers from various parts of country who are at the Phuentsholing auction yard for more than about four days are concerned that they may not make it home on time to cast their vote.

As the price for potatoes at the Food Corporation Bhutan Limited (FCBL) auction yard this year has increased compared to the past years, farmers are rushing to auction the produce.

Farmers of Phobjikha and Khothakha in Wangdue who brought the potatoes for auctioning have been waiting to unload and auction by today and tomorrow.

There are around 62 truckloads of potatoes waiting at the auction yard from September 9-12.The number is likely to increase as more trucks reach the yard.

Farmer Mindu Gyeltshen from Khothakha said he has to wait in the queue and after auctioning, another couple of days for payment.

“I am worried that I will not be able to vote on the poll day if I don’t get my payment today,” he said. “Even if I get my money by evening, I will go tomorrow morning to vote.”

Nim Penjo from Phhobjikha said, he has been waiting to auction the potatoes for the last three days. “Even after auctioning my potatoes, I still have to wait for the payment which will take few more days,” he said. “I am worried that I may miss the poll day.”

Manager at the FCBL Ugyen Penjor said they would try to auction and pay the farmers by today and tomorrow, so that they can make it home on poll day.

For this, the FCBL requested an additional Nu 6 million to pay the farmers awaiting payment. “FCBL have announced through BBS on September 4 that the auction yard will be closed from September 15 to 17 and asked farmers to not bring the potatoes, people are still arriving at the yard,” he said.

He shared that to accelerate the auctioning process, the management has increased the quantity of auctioning potatoes from 4,000 bags a day to 5,000-5,500.

To help the farmers reach home on the poll day, FCBL management said it would release the payment at the earliest and also pay advance to those who want to go home by Friday after the auction.

Those who are bringing the potatoes today and hereafter would have to wait for auctioning or payment until September 18.

Nim Dorji | Phuentsholing