The Jaigaon Challenge

Given the local press statements and social media broadcasts from Jaigaon media and individuals, it is now an open secret that there is strong pressure from them to open Bhutan’s Phuentsholing gate.

A transport association there even threatened to blockade Bhutan from essential goods and items, mainly because access to cheap fuel was not available for their trucks.

There have been others also making threats, both overt and covert, only so that Bhutan buckles and opens its gates to allow the flood of Bhutanese customers into Jaigaon shops.

This is even though they know that Bhutan has sealed its borders to prevent COVID-19 community transmission not only in Jaigaon but also across the entire 699 km length with India. Our northern borders have remained closed for decades.

This is even though Jaigaon recently detected 17 cases out of a 100 tests of frontline workers and has a total case of 26 with 4 deaths. Given the limited testing in India the actual cases would be much higher.

This aggressive and arrogant local attitude is in sharp contrast to the Government of India and the West Bengal government who have been very helpful from the start, including during India’s lockdown phase.

The rise of Jaigaon would never have been possible without the rise of Phuentsholing.

However, it seems now that familiarity has bred contempt for Bhutanese among sections of the Jaigaon population.

A solution could be to reduce commercial dependence on the border town now that COVID-19 is here to stay for a while and so other routes need to be explored.

At the larger level it may be important for people in Jaigaon and India to start learning that the Bhutan-India relationship is not a one-way street of Indian aid, but there is a lot that Bhutan also brings to the table.

“Good fences make good neighbors.”
Robert Frost

Check Also

Penjore case is back

Many Bhutanese breathed a sigh of relief when the Thimphu District Court dismissed the sedition …

5 comments

  1. It is Robert Frost and not John Frost

  2. Akshay Sarawgi

    This is a completely biased and unrealistic analysis of the Jaigaon situation. It is very convenient to put such blame during this time of distress. Rather than creating disharmony, the Bhutanese should create closer friendship and find solutions. Please do not follow TRPs at this time. You will try to write what will sell, but sometimes that idea is flawed because it can create animosity between people.

    • Rinchen Wangchuk

      @Akshay Sarawgi The news articles posted in Bhutan are true, accurate and legit. Please get your facts clear before you put up such statements about the Bhutanese News Media.And please do not compare The Bhutanese News Media to that of the Indian News Media who go around selling fake news just to gain their TRPs.

      An attempt to create hostility between people has been actually initiated by the various associations from Jaigoan esp. the transport. Do you think that it is wise of the people from Jaigoan to pressurise the Govt. of Bhutan amid such times of widespread to open up the Border and allow movement? Shouldn’t their growing concerns actually be more focused on safeguarding their own community rather than nosing into another country’s regulations?

      Yet here you are aiding up to the acts of Jaigoan people and being directive to the Bhutanese people while the pandemic situation is growing haywire in Jaigoian and India as a whole.

  3. I believe the quote ‘Good fences make good neighbors’ is by Robert Frost from his poem ‘Mending the Wall’

  4. Rinchen Wangchuk Dadul

    @Akshay Sarawgi The news articles posted in Bhutan are true, accurate and legit. Please get your facts clear before you put up such statements about the Bhutanese News Media.And please do not compare The Bhutanese News Media to that of the Indian News Media who go around selling fake news just to gain their TRPs.

    An attempt to create hostility between people has been actually initiated by the various associations from Jaigoan esp. the transport. Do you think that it is wise of the people from Jaigoan to pressurise the Govt. of Bhutan amid such times of widespread to open up the Border and allow movement? Shouldn’t their growing concerns actually be more focused on safeguarding their own community rather than nosing into another country’s regulations?

    Yet here you are aiding up to the acts of Jaigoan people and being directive to the Bhutanese people while the pandemic situation is growing haywire in Jaigoian and India as a whole.

Leave a Reply

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