They say they are waiting with their loaded trucks to export the goods
The exporters in Phuentsholing are in a dilemma about why they are not allowed to export boulders from Phuentsholing.
They say they are still waiting for information from the concerned authorities.
The exporters from Phuentsholing say that the boulder export was put on hold for more than a week since September 1 as the road safety awareness program was organized in West Bengal, India from September 1 to 7.
According to the exporters, the export was supposed to resume on September 8 of this year and more than 80 truckloads of boulders exited from Phuentsholing and Samtse. However, the trucks were stopped by the police in Jaigon and Banarhaat in India. The boulders were usually exported from the West Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya route.
Sources say that the export from Assam route is uninterrupted, and the Meghalaya route is under maintenance and that export from this route is expected to resume soon.
The general secretary of Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA), Tshering Yeshi said the export from Samtse is undisturbed and exports are made from Samtse.
However, he did not comment on why the export from Phuentsholing was stopped despite the exporters waiting with their loaded trucks to export the goods.
According to the exporters, even if they gear up to resume the works, due to the export being on hold, the revenue and employment was lost temporarily due to the disturbance of export from the Phuentsholing route.
The exporters from Phuentsholing say that during the normal days, about 250 truckloads of boulders leave from Phuentsholing and Samtse route along with Gomtu.
An exporter from Phuentsholing said the concerned authority should look at the current situation where the export is being on hold while the export from Samtse is made without any disturbance.
The exporter said, “We need information and guidance as our truckloads of boulders are still waiting for the instruction to be exported.”
Another exporter said as soon as the loaded trucks were stopped, they contacted the BEA and requested their help as they did not know why exports were stopped from Phuentsholing.
The exporter said, “The concerned government agencies should look into the matter as we don’t know why it was stopped from Phuentsholing.”
Further, the exporter said the Indian trucks which were loaded from Bhutan were allowed to travel. However, Bhutanese trucks were not allowed.
The exporter said the truckers were stopped and questioned by the police and they were not allowed to proceed further.
Meanwhile, some exporters say that if such things continue, it will then be difficult for them to sustain and pay their staff.
Exporters say the concerned authority should look into the issue and let exporters know what to do next as the trucks are loaded and still waiting to export the goods.
An exporter said, “If export stops for a longer run, then I am thinking of stopping export work and going for other business work.”
The exporter said it is getting difficult for them to give salary to their staff. “We depend on exports for our daily livelihood and along with me all my friends are expecting good news soon.”
In 2020, Bhutan exported boulders worth Nu 3.7bn and it was the third most exported item from the country.
Sonam Tashi from Phuentsholing