Jun 18, 2020
After three months of waiting, Bhutanese who were evacuated from Jaigaon, India prior to the border closure have started to bring back their possessions left behind earlier.
In the wake of COVID 19 pandemic and the border closure that ensued, more than 5,000 Bhutanese living in Jaigaon were evacuated and rehabilitated in Phuentshogling.
Since Saturday, those who resided in Jaigaon earlier started bringing in their belongings with the help from Phuentshogling Thromde. Indian vehicles transport the belongings till the customs port in Phuentshogling from where they are conveyed on Bhutanese vehicles and taken to their respective homes.
As much as people are relieved to get their possessions, they have also been burdened by the expenditure incurred in transportation and labor charges. Almost all the people who lived in Jaigaon are from low-income groups.
Manoj Rai, who brought his possessions from his residence in Jaigaon, had to shell out around Nu 19,000 in total. “I paid four months’ rent, which is Nu 14,000. I had to pay around Nu 3000 for labor charges in Jaigaon and then another Nu 2000 for transportation and unloading charges here,” he said.
Roshan Chhetri, who now lives Phuentshogling, said that they talked with their house owners in Jaigaon, requesting them to pack and send their possessions. “After paying our rents, they loaded our belongings and sent here. We already paid labor and transportation charges which are quite high.”
But he added that people are happy to get their possessions back. “We don’t know yet if some of our belongings have been damaged or not. We simply trusted the house owners there and they did as we asked.”
All vehicles bringing back the belonging were disinfected and safety protocols were followed like all other imports.