The borders, including illegal routes, were sealed and since than all the volunteers and RBP have been guarding and patrolling the border 24/4 to prevent the importation of COVID-19 in the country.
However, after so much of hard work put in by all the stakeholders, there were cases of illicit trafficking of tobacco and drugs. Given that, they have now become more vigilant and have further strengthened the patrolling efforts.
In line to this, a source from Samdrupjongkhar said that they are strictly monitoring the border after the recent incident of involvement of Bhutanese in illicit trafficking of controlled substances across the border.
People tend to take advantage of porous border. Some people are not being responsible. At such a time, people should come together rather than finding ways to bring in more challenges, he said.
“We have not received any case after the recent incident. We are monitoring and we are being vigilant. All the stakeholders including Thromde has come together and have been working round the clock,” the source added.
Movement of people is not allowed through the gate due to lockdown in India, he said. However, they face challenges due to porous border as lots of people are entering the country illegally.
He said, “People do not want to comply the rule of social distancing and they are taking things lightly. Nevertheless, all the volunteers and relevant stakeholders are playing their role in more efficient ways.”
Similarly, a source from Samtse said that the situation is not good, which is why they are working round the clock to guard across the border and to prevent anything bad from happening. Though they have not received any serious cases so far, they are patrolling the area 24/7.
Meanwhile, the Director of Immigration Department, Pema L. Dorji said that at a time when the entire nation under the leadership and personal guidance of His Majesty The King, doing everything possible to prevent the importation and spread of COVID-19, including preparedness and response mechanisms and facilities, therefore, it is duty of every Bhutanese and resident to extend their full support and cooperation and to act responsibly.
He said, “The international border was sealed on 23 March 2020 as a preventive step. No individual should take advantage of the situation for personal gain.”
The challenges faced are significant as the border is highly porous, he said, adding that law enforcement agencies are mindful of the risks and have intensified surveillance, monitoring and patrolling.
“Given the nature of the disease, all Bhutanese must act responsibly and comply with all the restrictions and advisories issued by the government,” he added.
A senior civil servant said that it is disappointing to see a few people being selfish for the sake of little profit. “If they can’t give their hands to narrow down the issue, they should not be taking risk in any ways at least,” he said.
Their small profit can ruin everything and may have negative impact on the society. Moreover, their selfish doings may ruin the hard work put in by His Majesty The King, government, all the relevant stakeholders and volunteers, he said.
He said, “Every individual should play an equal role and help government by staying home at least. Do not take any step to destroy what the nation have been doing so far, involving a lot of expenses.”