Enterprises and stores in Thimphu are experiencing shortages due to the lockdown in Phuentsholing and businesses are worried that that the new system of only 120 Indian trucks a day in Mini Dry Port (MDP) might affect their business even more.
Chencho, Finance Officer of State Trading Corporation of Bhutan (STCB) said that only fuel is being transshipped from India for now because of the lockdown in Phuentsholing. It is transshipped in their private yard in Toorsa, Phuentsholing but under the same protocol followed by the MDP in Phuentsholing. “There might have been at least 4 fuel tankers approaching Thimphu everyday but there are only 1 to 2 fuel tankers in a day now,” said Chencho.
He added that the tires are very limited in STCB, and when the customers come looking for tires, they are disappointing the customers because of the shortage of the stocks.
Apart from that new vehicles which were ordered by the customers are also stranded in India. “The vehicles have arrived from Singapore to Kolkata but due to the lockdown in Phuentsholing, we are not able to bring the vehicles to Thimphu and once the vehicle has reached to the port we have to lift the vehicles within 21 days or we will have to pay the detention fee which is an additional cost,” said Chencho.
He further added in 2020 STCB was running under loss of Nu 9.6 mn, the last profit STCB made was in 2019 with Nu 45 mn but the company has been giving the salary to the employees as usual. He said if the situation remains unfavorable the company might have to reduce their allowance for the staff. Currently there are 100 people working in STCB Thimphu and 110 in Phuentsholing.
Dolma Enterprise in Thimphu is almost out of stock since weeks ago said K.B Monger, overall in charge of Dolma Enterprise. Due to the lockdown in Phuentsholing he said they could not bring the goods to Thimphu. The goods are said to be enough in Phuentsholing godown but the transshipment has been a major problem due to the extra charges during the transshipment with the lockdown in Phuentsholing.
“The shop now looks like a football ground due to the very limited stocks in such a big space. It is totally empty. Now it is said that the incoming of Indian trucks has been limited to 120 per day and this is bad news for businesses because these 120 trucks per day has to meet the needs of many businesses in every part of Bhutan and so I think it will be difficult for the business people as shops might get partially empty soon because or country is fully dependant on India,” said K.B Monger.
Earlier Dolma Enterprise used to earn about Nu 6 mn a month and currently it is said that it is very hard to earn even 2 mn a month from which the salary for the staffs and rent for the shop has to be given.
Kinley Wangchuk, Manager of Leksol Automobiles said that their business is severely affected by the pandemic since their factory is based in Chennai. He said that they order the bikes in one consignment but at the moment their store is completely empty beside one bike which is also booked from a customer from Samtse but they could not send it because of the lockdown.
Similarly, it is learnt that many stores are running out of stock and some are already empty because of the lockdown in Phuentsholing due to which the stock price has increased and it is also learnt that the brokers selling the second hand goods are enjoying the situation by charging a high amount on the goods which are unavailable in the market.