The latest in the advocacy programs of the Bhutan Narcotic Control Agency (BNCA) was a meeting with 200 taxi drivers in the capital city to sensitize them on the issue.
The BNCA) previously conducted numerous advocacies on Tobacco Control Act in schools with teachers and students, with the Desuups and extended the program to Gups and Gewog Administrations Officers for all 205 gewogs.
The meeting conducted in collaboration with the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) to give advocacy on the Tobacco Act to all taxi drivers in Thimphu is the first phase and will be followed by the same for bus drivers, conductors and truck drivers as well, in a phased manner.
The meeting conducted with the taxi drivers highlighted the Tobacco Act and Drugs and also the responsibilities of drivers.
It also advocated on the problems or the penalty they will be faced in case they are caught and also on the ill-effects on drugs and tobacco and about the services available on where to make clarifications on drugs and tobacco.
The meeting included a Question and Answer session as well.
The BNCA media spokesperson, Sonam Tshering said “People who are caught are mostly drivers and we don’t want any innocent people to be caught. Drivers are more vulnerable because they deal with various kinds of people where private vehicles hardly carry parcels from unknown people.”
Many are found sending parcels through bus after paying just Nu 50 and most of the drivers are not aware of what they are carrying and do not know what is actually in the packages.
Through the Sunday meeting, the agency made an attempt to educate the taxi drivers and made them understand the tobacco and drugs laws and its consequences. The drivers were advised to be more alert while taking parcels especially from people and also to make sure of the contents.
The drivers were also instructed on how and where to inform.
A similar kind of advocacy program for the drivers was conducted in Samdrup Jongkhar and Gelephu where the participation of the drivers was overwhelming and outcome of the meetings was good in both dzongkhags.
BNCA said, there were good number of participation and people were supportive and he expects the same as well and he is confident with taxi Tshogpa here in the capital.
After taxi drivers, the bus drivers and truck drivers will also be called for similar kind of meetings for the same talk.
In Thimphu, there are more than 2,000 taxi drivers registered with the RSTA. As per the RSTA annual report as of June 2012, Thimphu region tops with 35,490 registered vehicles.