Nima | Gelephu

Residents of Hariyo Muga village in Gakiling gewog, Sarpang, always travelled to Tsirang, which is an hour journey by car, to buy their essentials.

But with Sarpang considered a Covid-19 red zone, residents have to now travel to Sarpang and Gelephu to do shopping, which cost them extra money and time.

The village is six kilometres away from the demarcated redline at Darachhu.

A villager, Lhakpa Sherpa, said it was easier and convenient to travel to Tsirang. “But if we want to go there now, we will have to stay in quarantine now.”

Another villager, Sangay Rinchen, said Tsirang is more accessible and convenient. “We will have to pay at least Nu 700 to go shopping till Sarpang. We could reach Tsirang using buses,” he said.

He also said that they have to travel to Gelephu, as many commodities are not available in Sarpang. “We used to get everything from Tsirang.”

We could get our required stuff from Tsirang,” said Sangay Rinchen.

The redline demarcation in Darachhu, which is almost 100ms inside Tsirang had also left one hotelier along the Tsirang-Sarpang highway into the red zone.

The hotel remains open but they are not allowed to entertain any customers.

Hotel owner, Nim Gyem, said the hotel falls under Tsirang dzongkhag administration. “We are not allowed to open our hotel to both the travellers moving out and coming into Sarpang,” she said.

She added that they were not allowed to travel for shopping both to Gelephu and Tsirang.

“I will have to stay in quarantine if I travel till Gelephu for shopping. It is difficult to run the business in this situation,” said Nim Gyem. “There is no clear instruction.”

The hotel catered to more than 1,000 commuters along Tsirang-Sarpang highway in a month before the pandemic, according to the owner.