Now, it’s the other way round

Earlier, the border towns of India ruled the roost where business was concerned, with Bhutanese shoppers flocking in herds for a wider and cheaper variety of goods. But now, with the rupee crunch, the scenario has reversed with Indians entering Bhutan so that the business community of places like Gelephu and Phuentsholing have something to smile about.

The Bhutanese have relatively cut down on their frequent visits to the border towns and there is an influx of Indians who want equal value for their Ngultrum because if they shop with the currency in Jaigaon, they will have to pay at least between 15-10% commission.

Items brought by residents across the border are boil rice which  comes in 50 to 25 kg packs, mustard and refined oil (both in tins and bottle), aerated drinks, sugar (50 kg), noodles, milk powder, and toiletries. Biscuits are not in demand.

Ram Prit and Sons grocery shop in Phuentsholing has been catering to about 30 customers from across the border daily, vying for grocery items like rice and oil including snacks.

One of the proprietors of Ram Prit and Sons, Birender, said the profit margin has definitely increased and accepting the Ngultrum is not a problem for them at all. However, there were many who after paying for the items in Ngultrum request for Rupee exchange.

Jatan and Lalchand Prasad, a wholesale dealer of grocery items, has seen double-fold increase in customers in the last few days and it is expecting the numbers to increase in the coming days.

Gelephu town is also witnessing an increasing number of customers from nearby places across the border like Dadhgari, Shantipur, Devshree, and Runikhata.

People from such places come all the way to Gelephu carrying Ngultrum and shop for ration.

However, it is not just the Indians who are making a bee-line for shops in Bhutan. The number of Bhutanese customers who would earlier wait for the Thursday market at Dadhgari has declined drastically.

Since Samdrup Jongkhar has a small population, it has seen only a slight increase in Indian customers. According to Anup Dafffo, A staff of Hanuman Stores, it would not make much difference as the BTN was circulating within the town itself.

However, the tight rein on rupee has posed some hitches even for shopkeepers within Bhutan.

Pravin Kumar Jain, proprietor of Bhanwarlal Jain Grocery shop, said that it was a problem buying goods from India as he had to make payments in Rupee.

The other problem he faced was the charges on transportation of goods. Transporting salt from Bongaigaon was not a problem as he was using Bhutanese vehicles to whom he paid a sum of Nu 5,000.

However, while transporting goods from Siliguri and other places in West Bengal, he was charged in rupee. For instance, a full truck of pulses and rice grains cost him about Nu 20,000.

Manoj Jain of Gelephu Grocery Shop said laborers without work permit posed a dilemma. He had 10 staff  such staff and the bank only facilitated about Rs 5,000 for laborers with work permit.

“We have to pay all of them in Rupee which is becoming a hassle,” he said.

Manoj Jain added that from March 29 onwards the bank started issuing Rs 6,000 for transportation costs along with the Rs 5,000 for labor payment.

Jatan and Lalchand Prasad shop’s owner said he was facing a problem only with the work permit issue but the rest was fine, as his shop was making payments for the goods and transportation to their suppliers in Siliguri and Kolkata through drafts.

Many businessmen agreed that those who had been operating illegally were the ones who were at the losing end. Earlier, they used to operate without documents and made draft payments under different names, but, now this practice has come to a halt.

The Rupee crisis has also hit beauty agents like Oriflame and Avon which deliver products on order. Since the agents are based in border towns and have direct link with Siliguri, they accept only INR.

In Bhutan there are a good number of cosmetic dealers who have also been affected. An Oriflame member Cheki Lhaden from Thimphu   said she has been unable to supply her customers due to dearth  of the Indian currency.

Additionally, the business people running foreign goods and Dhaka sales shops have been facing problems. The wholesale dealers in Nepal and Dhaka are demanding Rupee and only a few Nepali dealers who have been in long term business relation with the shopkeepers are selling the goods in smaller amounts.

Meanwhile, the informal exchange of Rupee is still in practice, but at a smaller scale with commission rate for the Rupee against the Ngultrum at 10-15%. Now, the exchange rate charged during emergency has increased from Nu 500 to Nu 1,000 against Rs 10,000.

Check Also

The story behind the criminal conspiracy

The Bhutanese, over the week, was contacted by a source with information on the case …

17 comments

  1. The news is not edited properly. The topic says one thing and the content is of the unsolved land cases. It would be better if proper edition is done before publishing it online so that it does not become a mediocre news. 

  2. something is wrong here, please check it out

  3. “However, there were many who after paying for the items in Ngultrum request for Rupee exchange.and then added 10 acres in his wife’s name. The 25 acres was then registered in the name of his children. The 15 acres was converted back to Tseri and he was asked to pay for the excess land of 10 acres.” these mixed up news confuses me, may be those who have read. First sentence starts with rupee crunch suddenly it is the news of “High level committe report sheds light on unresolved land cases”. This is the sheer negligence in the part of the reporter which confuses the general public. Next time The Bhutanese got to be careful and read once before publishing…

  4. What is this From rupee crunch problem news to land grab news all mixed up. Editor have to be careful. What type of news is this

  5. editor please check this article.

  6. It happens.
    But careful in the next time.

  7. what a shit is this? 

  8. what kind of news is it.At first it is written about phuntsholing business and suddenly continued on land case.please check when u write.

  9. i dont know what is this article about. It does not make head and tail… Looks like the editor or IT guy has mixed two different stories.

  10. I am confused reading from the 12th line on

  11. from rupee to land………..something wrong with ur writer. need to check again.

  12. this article is confusing and it is not professional at all to make such blunder

  13. whats this article about… i dont understand,, it talks about the situation in the border towns regarding the rupee shortage and then suddenly talks about land issues…. 

  14. This is what i saw earlier but its been replaced now… what happened??

    Earlier, the border towns of India ruled the roost where business was concerned, with Bhutanese shoppers flocking in herds for a wider and cheaper variety of goods. But now, with the rupee crunch, the scenario has reversed with Indians entering Bhutan so that the business community of places like Gelephu and Phuentsholing have something to smile about. The Bhutanese have relatively cut down on their frequent visits to the border towns and there is an influx of Indians who want equal value for their Ngultrum because if they shop with the currency in Jaigaon, they will have to pay at least between 15-10% commission. Items brought by residents across the border are boil rice which comes in 50 to 25 kg packs, mustard and refined oil (both in tins and bottle), aerated drinks, sugar (50 kg), noodles, milk powder, and toiletries. Biscuits are not in demand. Ram Prit and Sons grocery shop in Phuentsholing has been catering to about 30 customers from across the border daily, vying for grocery items like rice and oil including snacks. One of the proprietors of Ram Prit and Sons, Birender, said the profit margin has definitely increased and accepting the Ngultrum is not a problem for them at all. However, there were many who after paying for the items in Ngultrum request for Rupee exchange.and then added 10 acres in his wife’s name. The 25 acres was then registered in the name of his children. The 15 acres was converted back to Tseri and he was asked to pay for the excess land of 10 acres. Land Records Director Lhakpa Duba was held answerable for the lapses. A high acreage of excess land belongs to Umtey Penjor and Phub Tshering. The then Finance Minister Chogyel allotted 30 acres to the two in 1974 at Limbukha. However, during the time of registration the acreage was increased to 50 acres. The excess land of 20 acres was not allowed. Another irregular allotment of excess land involved Duptho Wangchhuk. He had bought seven acres of apple orchard above Hongtsho Kuenrey in 1984. He applied for land replacement as the land was densely forested and was allotted a land at Gangchey. However this allotment of 7 acres was not allowed as per the law as the apple orchard had not been cultivated for 17 years. In the case of Gyeltshen, a royal Kasho had allotted him 2.14 acres in Thimphu and 1.45 acres in Punakha. However during registration the Thimphu land was increased and registered as 4.15 acres while the acreage in Punakha was reduced to 0.95 acres. So the excess registration of 2.65 acres was deleted. In the case of Chimi Tshering she got 3.21 acres of land replacement in Pamtsho in lieu of her 3.21 acres in Changzamtok which was cancelled. Dasho Nidup Dorji had registered 4.50 acres of land as sokshing originally. Sokshing land is essentially considered as government land and can be used by a person registering it for only collecting organic material like leaves etc. However this land was converted to Pangzhing. When this land was acquired by Bhutan Telecom he was given 3.59 acres of land as compensation in Thimphu. The committee cancelled this land as the sokshing was never his to give. Namgay Chezom had taken land compensation for 2.67 acres for Tseri land, for which she was not eligible as it was supposed to be cash compensation. Tseri land is again essentially owned by the government. Her compensated plot in Chang Gewog near Ngabi Rongchu was cancelled. Officials involved The common names that surface time and again in the report are the then Director of Land Records, Lhakpa Duba and land officer Sonam Norbu who were held liable for multiple lapses. Sonam Norbu and his wife Namgye Chezom had two cases in addition to the above case. He added 10 decimals of excess land with the approval of Kidu Lyonpo which was not allowed. This case was solved after he was suspended from service and charge-sheeted for the lapses. The recommendation also stated that a special investigation must be conducted on his assets and land transactions he processed. He was also found liable for the case where his wife, Namgye Chezom had registered 40 decimals of Kamzhing or dry land at Rilo, Zilukha which fell within Thimphu Municipality boundary’s green zone. However, land replacement which should not have been given was allotted from Lanjophakha. Interestingly of the 40 decimals around 10 decimals were transferred to the wife of the then Thimphu Dzongda Dasho Karma Dorji. The then Thimphu Dzongda and the Chairman of Land Acquisition committee, Karma Dorji was also held liable for administrative action for nonenforcement of lawful and proper directives; abuse of official authority and position with regard to his wife, Sonam Zangmo’s case of acquiring 50 decimals of replacement land. He was relieved from his services. In another instance, Lyonpo Tamji Jagar was held liable for lapses in allotting an acre of land to Late Thinley Dorji at Dechencholing Goenpa. The land was registered in Thinley Dorji’s name in 1984. Another case involving a land official was when 15 individuals including then Joint Director of Land Registration Division, Ugen Takchu had their excess land regularized. Ugen Takchu and Surveyor General Sither Namgey had submitted a note sheet to the Home Minister for the approval of regularization. While the note sheet clearly stated that such is not allowed, the report states that the two processed the land for approval. They were held answerable to the lapses. Attempts by The Bhutanese to get updates from the National Land Commission and the Thimphu City Corporation on the latest status of the above cases were unsuccessful.

  15. I have also commented on the previous article but the Bhutanese has failed to published it here. The story was as above which started with the rupee crunch suddenly it jumped to report on unresolved land cases. What was the intention of not posting my comment behind. That was just to remind the concern to refrain from making such mistakes in future since the paper goes nationwide and the general public has been misinformed. This is gross negligence in their part and cannot let it happen again in future, though human beings are bound to make mistakes. So, the Bhutanese should inform the public for its mistakes through its own paper. God Bless!

  16. Will the exchange of nu to Rs will be normal…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *