Chimi Dema | Tsirang

Tsirang Covid-19 Task Force has initiated escort service to ensure that drivers and transporters exiting and entering Sarpang adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.

From Darachhu checkpoint in Tsirang, vehicles are escorted to transshipment areas at Mini Dry Port nearby Gelephu-Datgari checkpoint. Four persons, two de-suups and two police officials escort the vehicles.

Darachhu is 21km towards Gelephu from Damphu.

Vehicles conveying food and other essential goods from Gelephu to other dzongkhags are escorted to various godown points by Sarpang Covid-19 Task Force.

Once loaded, vehicles are escorted back up to Darachhu. The drivers have to remain in their vehicle throughout.

On an average, about 18 vehicles are being escorted a day.

While drivers and transporters applaud the initiative, many said that the service could be improved.

Lhakpa Gyeltshen, a potato transporter from Phobjikha, Wangdue said, “While we understand that the escort service is for our own good, there is also a need for certain facilities like meal and washrooms along the way. We have to stop for a night here at Darachhu, as vehicles are escorted the next morning at 7am and we don’t get a proper breakfast as the lone restaurant doesn’t open early.”

Another transporter, Dawa, said that it was hard to survive the entire day with the little breakfast he took. “We cannot even come out to attend to nature’s call. There is a need for an identified spot along the Tsirang-Sarpang highway so that it would be easier for us.”

From 7pm every day, the lone restaurant in Darachhu becomes a busy place, serving meals to the hungry drivers.