Shopkeeper-fire victims at a loss what to do next

The temporary relief camp set up will remain in operation for just another couple of days

Disaster: Days before the fire that razed half of Sarpang’s makeshift town to the ground, Ganga Raj Chhetri had stocked his shop.

School was reopening soon and the business from Gakiling had stocked school uniforms worth Nu 40,000.  There were stationery and other goods.  His was a “general shop.”  Ganga Raj Chhetri lost everything in the fire.

Almost a month after the fire, Ganga is a tensed man.  “I have no business and a lot of money to pay,” he said.

Ganga Raj lives in his own house in Gakiling and is in a better position.  Another businessman, Baharam Islam, originally from Dupo district in Assam, lost everything in the fire.  He will have to vacate the temporary relief camp in a couple of days.

“My whole family was dependent on the business that I’ve been running in Sarpang town for many years,” the 44-year-old businessman said. “Other than the general store in Sarpang, we have nothing.”

The area, where a new town will be developed, Shechamthang is still under the cover of thickets.  Developments are progressing at snail’s pace.

“We’re helpless and we don’t know what to do,” he said.  There are about 25 Indians, who lost their business to the fire, staying in the temporary relief camp.  Many live in Tar with relatives or in rented houses.

Disaster focal person in Sarpang, Tenzin Choda, said that the relief camp was provided to victims only for one month and they were informed to move. “We haven’t issued any order as yet,” he said.

The February 15 fire razed to the ground 81 shops in Sarpang town.  Of the 81 shops, 49 belonged to Indian merchants.

By Yeshey Dema, Sarpang

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