The Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited’s (FCBL) auction yard in Samdrupjongkhar, which had remained idle for the last three days, is expected to be busy from today.
FCBL officials attribute the lack of activity at the yard to the roadblock at Teakshingri in Narphung, Samdrupjongkhar since August 4, as all trucks ferrying potatoes were stranded.
However, with the roadblock cleared since 2:30pm yesterday, the trucks are expected to reach the auction yard by yesterday evening.
Farmers, FCBL officials and bidders claim the roadblock affected them.
Although the block has been opened to traffic, farmers are worried that given the weather, there would be a block in the area again.
Farmer Phuntsho from Bidung in Trashigang said they came to know about the roadblock after reaching Khaling, when it was too late to return home.
He is worried that the potatoes might have rotten as they have been waiting for almost four days at the block site. “There are about 10 trucks ferrying potatoes stranded at the block.”
Phuntsho said he is worried the potatoes might not fetch the desired price.
Another farmer, Tenzin Dorji, 49, from Bartsham in Trashigang, said they came to Samdrupjongkhar leaving the potatoes at the roadblock, as they could not trans-shift.
“It would be helpful if concerned authorities deploy more excavators,” he said.
He said they did not pay waiting charges to the truck drivers until now but they might have to because unlike Samdrupjongkhar, it’s also challenging for the drivers to wait without lodge and food at the site. “We are worried about not being able to pay the transportation charges if the potatoes do not fetch a good price.”
FCBL officials said they could have auctioned the potatoes left stranded at the block. “Now there are high chances of more potatoes arriving at the yard, causing an auctioning problem,” an official said.
He said that despite the frequent strikes in India, the recent roadblock at Teakshingri in Narphung has hampered the functioning of the auction yard and remained empty without potatoes.
The bidders from across the border said it also affected them, as they could not supply potatoes to their counterparts as demanded.
Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar