Help being given for hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people stranded due to the lockdown

Since the lockdown, many vehicles and people got stranded in different Dzongkhags but each Dzongkhag is facilitating people with directives from the government. Those vehicles stranded in between the highways were cleared on the first day.

Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering said that there are a lot of inconveniences caused due to the lockdown. However, he said they are trying to look into everything. Of the many issues, one pertinent issue raised since the lockdown was on stranded vehicles along the highways.

Lyonchhen said, “Those vehicles who were stranded in the middle of the highways in different places were allowed to continue their travel until the destination. On the other hand, people who got stuck in one Dzongkhag but wished to go to their respective Dzongkhags were not allowed for now because the number is quite huge.”

However, in some cases they have allowed some people to travel given genuine and emergency grounds, he added. He also said that people think that they are giving preferences and allowing a person to travel who they know or who they are close with.

“It is their right to think that way but these are not true and people should know why we are doing this and why we are allowing only few people to move. As per the rules, during lockdown, not a single movement should be allowed but we have to see the situation and act accordingly,” he said.

Respective Dzongdas will be notified if any vehicle is travelling to their Dzongkhag. Around 74 trucks are stranded at Rinchending check post for now and not a single truck was allowed to move.

They will let the vehicle move from the check post only once the testing facilities are put in place along the way and until that time they won’t let any vehicle move. Lyonchhen said, one or two must be suffering but it is for the nation and he would be thankful if they can consider the situation.

“The more the movement is there the more is the risk of community transmission and that is why lockdowns were initiated in the country. People should know that this is to get through the COVID-19 situation”, he added.  

Meanwhile, Samtse Dzongda Sonam Wangyel said that they have facilitated movement of 26 people within the Dzongkhag as they were stranded in different gewogs. On the other hand, 27 people who where stranded came from outside Samtse of which 14 people are officials of the Gyalsung project.

“We are trying to facilitate their movement. 8 people came from Phuentsholing whereby for now we cannot send them to Phuentsholing as it’s identified as a red zone. But once it’s relaxed we will facilitate them,” he said.

None of them has any logistics issue and the Dzongkhag have facilitated for about 8 of them while the rest have managed on their own.

“For those who do not have a private car, we facilitate their movement. We are looking for other alternatives as we are trying to facilitate through Sombeykha, Haa via Dorokha,” he said.

However, there are two road blocks between Sombeykha and Dorokha but after discussing with DoR, they have dispatched machines to clear the blocks. If weather permits, they are planning to facilitate on Saturday, he said, adding that for those who do not have their own car will be facilitated till Haa at least.  

Thimphu Dzongda Dorji Tshering said that since the lockdown they have registered 2,900 people as of Friday afternoon who got stranded. However, they not sure how many vehicles are stranded in Thimphu.

He said, “We do not complicate by asking why they are stranded here in Thimphu. Everybody will want to be prioritized and as of now no individual came forward saying they are okay to stay back. Everyone wants to be the first one to go.”

From the registered number and with approval from the government, they have dispatched 120 vehicles to facilitate the movement to their respective Dzongkhags on Friday.

Chukha Dzongda Minjur Dorji said that the maximum number of people and vehicle under the Dzongkhag are stranded in Phuentsholing and for now they have not allowed a single movement. However, “The vehicles being stranded in between Chuzom check post and Rinchending check post were cleared on the first day,” he said.

They are waiting for an SOP from the government and until than they will not allow any vehicle movement from and to Phuentsholing. For now, they have registered 300 vehicles being stranded in Phuentsholing.

Officiating Dzongda of Pemagatshel Dzongkhag said that they have cleared 74 stranded trucks in the first day of lockdown and since than they did not get any report of stranded vehicles. “There are people working on contract in Dzongkhag but they want to go back home due to the lockdown. Those we did not allow for now. But those who came with official work were facilitated as per the directives,” he said.

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