Under the guidance of His Majesty The King, Desuups along the border are doing their best for the safety and security of the people and country. They are on duty 24/7 along with RBP, RBA and other volunteers.
As of Friday, Samtse has 520 Desuup (120 women) volunteers, Samdrupjongkhar has 170 (26 women), Sarpang has 242 (74 women) and Phuentsholing has 214 (65 women). The Desuups sensitize the people on COVID-19 while on duty along the borders and town areas.
They said the communities are cooperative, but there are a few who fail to abide by the rules. Dessups also have people helping them with ration, lunches and snacks. They do not deploy women Desuups at night and they are not also sent to far-flung places for patrolling.
Some of the Desuups said they were nervous at first as everything was new to them, but with time they did not face any issues or challenges while on duty. They are rather privileged to serve the country, they shared.
Meanwhile, the Samtse Desuup coordinator said that the Desuups are deployed in 36 Point of Entries (POEs) along with RBP, RBA and other volunteers.
He said, “The only challenge we have faced is in terms of controlling the people from entering the border through the illegal routes. Otherwise, we are doing our duty without any hindrance.”
Until recently, they had deployed women Desuups in point of entry (POEs) but now they are deployed in towns to monitor and sensitize the people on social distancing. They are also deployed in check posts, he said.
“We are in frequent touch with sector community and deployment is done accordingly,” he added.
Samdrupjongkhar Desuup coordinator said, “Of the total Desuups, we have handed over 41 Desuups to RBP for 24/7 duty for security purpose along the border. The rest are deployed in different town areas for patrolling.”
He said that they had initially faced difficulties in border patrolling and on how things should be handled. But with time and guidance from stakeholders, they no longer face any difficulty.
They have constructed temporary sheds at various points along the border and Desuups are deployed in shift system. Transportation facilities are provided, he said.
“We might need additional Desuups along the border if India lifts the lock down. If lock down is lifted then we may have to be vigilant as many illegal immigrants may try to enter Bhutan through illegal routes for various purposes,” he added. For now, the number of Desuups that they have is sufficient, he said.
Sarpang Desuup coordinator said, “We are divided into six groups, and deployment is done in seven outposts with illegal routes. However, we do not deploy women during night in outposts. We have separate team for any emergency response. We also help with unloading as and when required, do patrolling in town and help hospital in quarantine facility.”
A maximum number of Desuups are teachers, he said, adding that they worry if schools reopen. “Nonetheless, we will get a list of Desuups who would want to serve 24/7 until the end of the pandemic. If we are in need of additional Desuups once the lock down opens, we can always request the head office. For now we are enough,” he added.
His Majesty The King has provided them with a Hilux vehicle and a bus to transport the Desuups to outposts and back home after duty.
Tashi Dorji, Phuentsholing Desuup coordinator shared that the Desuups are sent in outposts and POEs from Amo Chhu till Pana, Pasakha. “We had a few challenges when we started, but gradually with so much of resources coming in and sponsors and guidance from stakeholders, we now do not have any issues,” he said.
He also said that being a porous border they are very vulnerable to smuggling of illegal immigrants and controlled substances. They are doing their best with the support from RBP and RBA.
He said, “If the lock down in India opens up then we may need additional Desuups. If we are more in number, we can guard the border in a more efficient way.”