Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

State Mining Corporation Limited’s (SMCL) sales office in Samdrupjongkhar terminated two truckers and cancelled agreement for 14 truckers between January and July this year.

SMCL’s officials said they had to terminate the truckers after several reminders as the truckers did not ferry gypsum as per the agreements for more than a month.

“We faced challenges to meet the daily requirement of more than 1,400 metric tonnes of gypsum (MT). The truckers didn’t inform the office about their absence,” an official said.

According to the agreement, SMCL would cancel the agreement and issue the termination letter if truckers do not work continuously for 10 days.

They said one trucker did not ferry gypsum for more than a month and didn’t inform the office. Officials, however, said they traced the truck through GPS and found it was carrying goods in Samdrupjongkhar town.

“We terminated him because it’s against the Covid-19 standard operation procedure (SoP). He was also found ferrying goods in Nganglam, Pemagatshel,” an official said.

About 14 truckers also withdrew ferrying gypsum, reasoning the trucks were old.

Officials said SMCL also issued reminder to 22 truckers who didn’t turn up for ferrying gypsum since October last year, adding that of the 22 truckers, one trucker informed the office that he would take another one month to resume the work.

“Truckers are given direct work of transporting gypsum without the middlemen. We have no choice if they do not cooperate when we need them because we even fuel their trucks. The management looks at the need and truckers’ response,” an official said.

A trucker, Karma Dorji, said he didn’t transport gypsum for more than a month as his truck could not travel with the escort because it is old, adding that the officials issued a termination letter as they found his truck parked in Samdrupjongkhar town.

“I have no issues terminating, but I didn’t understand as SMCL didn’t cancel the agreement for other truckers. I used to earn a minimum Nu 80,000 to Nu 90,000 profit excluding the fuel and maintenance charges a month,” Karma Dorji said.

Truckers said they submitted the withdrawal letter because they face challenges in meeting the 15 truckloads of gypsum a month as their trucks frequently give problems. “We would continue to work with the SMCL if the office gives us an opportunity as we are buying new trucks,” a truck driver, Thukten, said.

Meanwhile, the SMCL has about 112 trucks ferrying gypsum from Pemagatshel to Samdrupjongkhar today, while the office exports more than 1,400MT from its stockyard a day.

Edited by Tashi Dema