A Bhutanese driver is recovering from serious injuries at the Agrasen Hospital in Fulbari, Silliguri, India after he was hit by a speeding bike on September 29.
The driver from Bidung, Trashigang is recovering, sources confirmed.
Fulbari is an Indian town that borders with the Bangladeshi town of Banglabandha. Bhutanese boulders are exported to Bangladesh from Fulbari, which is 160km away from Phuentsholing.
Meanwhile, the incident happened when the Bhutanese driver was crossing the road. A Fulbari local on a bike hit him at ICP Road.
An official from Phuentsholing dungkhag said an operation has also been conducted on the injured driver.
“He was seriously injured, but he is recovering now,” he said.
The driver works for Khamgdang Transport Company in Phuentsholing. He joined the company about two months ago.
A Facebook post had also gone viral about the state of the injured driver, which also claimed that the owner refused to help.
Khamdang’s owner Samten Wangdi said that he arranged a vehicle the same night after he heard of the incident and sent his family to the hospital.
“I sent his brother and wife the same night,” he said, adding that his office vehicle is still with the family.
“I also arranged another driver to stay with the injured driver.”
Samten Wandgi said he also arranged Nu 30,000 for the victim. He said he was doing everything to help his driver and explained it was difficult to immediately arrange financial assistance as demanded by the affected family.
Meanwhile, this is the second incident happening to Bhutanese drivers in Fulbari. On September 23 evening, a Bhutanese truck driver ferrying boulders to Bangladesh had hit a local man at Fulbari. An angry mob then assaulted some Bhutanese drivers and damaged windshields and windows of 35 boulder trucks.
An FIR has been filed after officials from the dungkhag and Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA) visited the New Jalpaiguri police station.
“The OC has assured us to arrest the culprits involved,” the dungkhag official said.
The officials also said that Jalpaiguri district magistrate (DM) has also visited the site where the incident had happened in Fulbari. The DM has conveyed to locals that Bhutanese trucks should not be harassed, he added.
The officials have also intimated and made it clear that some incidents and issues are inevitable given the nature of work that involves trucks ferrying boulders on the highway. However, it should be dealt as per the law of the country and people should not be assaulted by mobs.
“We have told them Bhutanese people were losing trust and faith from the counterpart and neighboring friends,” the dungkhag official said, adding that they also discussed on the compensation of the damages.
Everyday, more than 500 trucks carrying boulders from Phuentsholing, Samtse and Gomtu ply the Indian highway. In recent times, many cases of accidents have been reported.
Recently, a team comprising officials from Phuentsholing dungkhag, police, and BEA have also visited several places across the border to meet counterparts. The issues related to export of Bhutanese goods to Bangladesh via Fulbari-Banglabandha and Changrabanda- Burimairi border areas were also discussed.
Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing