Nima | Zhemgang

The continued lockdown for over three months has kept Dema, a shopkeeper in Zhemgang town, worried about sustaining her business for rest of the year.

It takes over two months to sell goods worth Nu 150,000 today. Before the lockdown, she had sold the same amount of goods within two weeks. Dema also runs a bar attached to her grocery shop. The bar is empty and dry.

“There is no return from the shop. I wonder how I would be able to pay the rent for the remaining months of the year,” said Dema.

She said the number of people purchasing goods had decreased drastically.

Every monsoon, the small town of Zhemgang experiences similar situations. Only this year it is lockdown for over two months because of Covid-19. In other times the roadblock hampers their business only for one or two months.

The supply of essential items does not come because of frequent roadblocks at Ossey and box cutting in Gelephu and Rewtala in Trongsa.

Many have begun to worry that the situation could become dire.

The business community and shopkeepers struggle to convey the required stocks and materials. The sales are dropping, they say. Many have already run out of stocks.

Ritham Chhetri, a shopkeeper, said she could not get hardware items. However, her hardware shop received same number of customers like in the past year. “The lockdown is getting stretched. We face shortage of stocks for two or three days only earlier,” she said.

The most affected are the ones running restaurants and grocery shops due to 7pm closure time.

Another shopkeeper, Sonam Choki, said that it was difficult to purchase required supplies during monsoon. “The sale is down by almost 30 percent,” she said.

Thromde Thuemi Tashi Choden said the town was affected more this time. “The shopkeepers worry how they would be able to sustain their business.”

She added that the municipality office also received several complaints from the business community about the worsening situation in the town. “Many from the town could not get relief Kidu,” she said.