Neten Dorji | Trashiyangtse

Trashiyangtse this year did not see many cordyceps collectors due to Covid-19 risks. Only 57 people from Bumdeling have registered for fungus collection.

Bumdeling Mangmi, Tshering Wangchuk, said that the number of collectors this year was half what was last year.

“Many are concerned about Covid-19 infection,” said Tshering Wangchuk.

The gewog administration will issue the permit on June 4  and collection will begin by June 24.

Kuenzang Namgay and his family member from Longkhar decided not go for collection this year.

“We decided not to go for collection this year because of Covid-19 situation across the border,” Kuenzang Namgay said.

The dzongkhag administration has introduced strict rules and guidelines in consultation with the collectors. Collectors have to form a group of five to 10 member.  A leader will be chosen from among them who will lead the party.

Trashiyangtse Dzongdag Thuji Tshering said that there was a guidelines from Ministry of Agriculture and forest for collection and advice from health ministry. “We have also introduced separate guidelines and set rules for the collectors. This year, collectors have to sign undertaking letter to make sure they don’t cross the border.”

Surveillance team, including foresters and Royal Bhutan Army will be there to monitor.

“Those who cross the border or fail to abide by collection guidelines will be quarantined in Bumdeling,” he said. “They will have to bear the expenses for 21-day quarantine. After completion of quarantine period, they will dealt as per the Penal code of Bhutan and other laws of Kingdom,” dzongdag said.

Before collector depart, health officials will carry out thorough health screening for all collectors. “Those who are unfit must sign an undertaking letter.”

The dzongkhag administration will also install three oxygen supplement stations in three areas, Shingphel, Lawoo, and Pemaling.

Entry and exist point will be installed at Lawoo, about two-days walk from Bumdeling.

“We have instructed all collectors to stay home for 21 days after they return,” said dzongdag.