Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Transporters ferrying goods between Phuentsholing and Samjdrupjongkhar along the Indian highway are facing difficulty in paying toll gate fees in Indian Rupee.

There are four toll gates between Phuentsholing and Samdrupjongkhar and two between Phuentsholing and Gelephu. A driver has to pay at least INR 2,000 to 3,000 in fees depending on the vehicle size.

A transporter said: “We were told to go to the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) but they said they have asked the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) to get the money. But RSTA had not come. They said RSTA will have to facilitate.”

Others said, “However, RSTA didn’t have INR.”

A driver said that he had a tough time arranging INR 6,000 for two Boleros. The INR requirement could be higher for bigger vehicles. “We need help.”

Meanwhile, Kuensel found that a few Bhutanese are now registering with an Indian app called Fastrak. An individual across the border is helping the Bhutanese to register on the app. The app allows Bhutanese transporters to register their vehicles and accordingly the information will be linked to the Toll Gates. The app will pay the toll gate fees. However, the transporters are paying in Ngultrum and they are paying extra as commission to the one who registers their vehicles.

“We have to pay to that man who is registering for us,” a transporter said, adding that they transfer through MBoB. “And we have to pay extra.”

The issue was discussed among the relevant authorities and had even reached the task force in Phuentsholing. The RMA office in Phuentsholing was asked to facilitate the INR.

An RMA official said that the authority is ready to facilitate INR for the transporters. The same message has also been intimated to the RSTA. 

“However, RSTA has to validate and endorse the details,” he said. “They can submit a list of the transporters and vehicle details and the requirement of money.”

However, it will only be an interim measure. The official said they are waiting for details from RSTA.

Kuensel learnt that RSTA has not been able to get the advance money from the drivers, without which they cannot ask for INR from RMA.