Youth Business Cooperative (YBC) in Thimphu supplies chillies at Nu 55 per kg which many considered to be quite reasonable during the chilli crisis but recently consumers have started complaining that over 50 per cent of the chillies that YBC supplies are rotten and unusable, consumer says.
What makes it worse is that customers standing in long lines cannot select the chillies they want but rather it is summarily put for them into plastic bags weighed and given with rot and all. This is when other vegetable vendors have refused to sell the Nu 55 per kg chilli imported by the government saying it does not cover losses from rotten chillies that customers won’t buy.
“After a ban on the import of chilli, we are not able to buy chilli from Jaigoan which we used to do in the past because the Regulatory and Quarantine Inspector from Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) are placed at various Entry points and Check posts. They who would inspect and fine those carrying chillies from the border,” Tenzin Dorji a regular chilli consumer said.
“We have to buy chillies from YBC but the quality of the chillies they supply are not good as more than half of the chillies are rotten but we don’t have any other option, either we can prefer not to eat chilli or buy chillies from YBC,” he added.
Aum Dem who runs a restaurant said, “Yesterday I bought 2 kgs of chillies from YBC at Nu 55 per kg and I thought the price is quite reasonable but when I opened the black plastic of chilli, I thought well, it is not reasonable because I paid NU 110 and I had to throw more than half of the chillies because they were rotten”.
“Being a Bhutanese I love emadatsi, our national dish and I can eat three plates of rice with emadatsi. Yesterday I bought a kg of chilli but the chillies that I bought yesterday was not like the chillies I bought a few days back. The chillies which I bought back then was so fresh and the chillies that I bought yesterday were not so good, over 45 per cent of the chillies were rotten. So I decided that I will not eat emadatsi and will not buy chillies again,” said Sangay Tshering.
Chimi Dorji from YBC in the face of these accusations said, “We bring around 8-10 metric tons of chillies at Nu 35 per kg from Kolkata. We distribute it to different dzongkhags like Paro, Punakha, Wangduephodrang, Tsirang and Dagana. In Thimphu, when people come to buy the chillies, they select and takes all the good ones and the rotten chillies are left behind which we have to dump”.
“Sometimes we come across people who buy the chillies in bulk where they take both good and rotten chillies”, he added.
“The 8-10 metric tons of chillies are not enough. The chillies get over and people come to us asking for chillies. We can’t bring much chilli because if we are not able to sell all the chillies that we bring, since there is no technology to store the chillies, the chillies will rot and a huge sum of money would be wasted”, Lhendup said.
He added, “We had also observed that the people buy chillies in bulk from us at only Nu 55 per kg and then sell to others when our stocks get over at a relatively higher price of Nu 80 per kg”.
However, the many consumers that The Bhutanese met at the Centenary market complained about the quality of chillies from YBC and how they were not allowed to select them.