Many businesses in T/gang affected as nearby districts go under lockdown

Shop owners are worried that they may have nothing to sell soon

Due to the current lockdown in other dzongkhags, especially in the border district of Samdrup Jongkhar, many paan shops (those selling areca-nuts and betel leaves) and other businesses in the town and remote areas are having a difficult time in replenishing their stocks.

While Trashigang is not under any lockdown presently, most of the shops are either getting empty or they are forced to sell whatever they have without any backup stocks.

Owners of paan shops and other businesses say that the shops are open but they are scared that the stocks may run out if they are not able to bring in new stocks.

A general shop owner, Dechen said her business has been doing well these days even at a time like this. However, she is worried that the number of customers may decrease if the market runs out of stocks.

She said if stocks run out, then there are possibilities of shops to remain shut.

She added that till now there has not been a single situation where shops were forced to shut down due to stocks getting exhausted.

“But there are possibilities in the long run if new arrival of stocks is stopped or delayed,” Dechen added.

Another small shop owner in the town said it has been like two weeks that the shops in Trashigang have stopped getting supply of betel leaves.

The shop owner said that areca-nuts (Doma) are available in plenty, but betel leaves have become rare.

A retailer, Jigme said that the lockdown in other dzongkhags is hampering the arrival of new stocks in the town.

He said the arrival of new stocks takes a long time due to the lockdown in other dzongkhags and the escort to the vehicles with new items are getting delayed, which eventually forces the shops in the market to sell what is available.

“There are some customers who are not happy when they find out that the shops have no betel leaves to sell. But there is nothing that the shopkeepers can do at the moment,” he added.

With businesses slowing down in terms of new stocks, most shopkeepers are hoping to get their supplies soon once they reach the market.

Meanwhile, apart from making do with the old stocks, the other thing these shopkeepers are doing for now is hoping and waiting.

Sonam Tashi from Trashigang