5560 P’ling residents migrates to other dzongkhags

Phuentsholing town giving a barren look

Sangay Rabten

Around 5,560 residents of Phuentsholing have migrated to other dzongkhags since the lockdown 3.0 according to the the report of the Phuentsholing quarantine felicitation office. The data reflects a report compiled from 17 April until 1 September.

In the monthly quarantine report, starting from 17-30 April 106 people were quarantined, which means that many people had moved out of Phuentsholing.   

938 people were quarantined in the month of May, and 1001 in June. The highest people were quarantined in July. 1,687 people were quarantined during the month.

In August, 1,495 people were quarantined, while only 333 people were quarantined at the beginning of this month. 

The residents of Phuentsholing were allowed to move out of the region based on the nature of the emergency by the Covid-19 Task Force. The types of emergency are death, medical and others.

123 people have moved out of the city for death-related emergencies and 301 for medical references. Around 4,740 people registered with other purposes for the quarantine, which includes meeting family, studying and seeking employment. Around 5,164 people had applied for the quarantine to go out of Phuentsholing, as per the summary of people quarantined from 17 April – 29 August.

The government has imposed a seven-day quarantine period to act as a second layer of surveillance for those travelling from high-risk areas to lower risk places.  All the bordering areas are classified as high-risk areas and travelling from high-risk to low-risk areas requires mandatory quarantine. The entire Phuentsholing area was identified as a red-zone as it continued to detect positive cases from the community in the past.

Most of the travelers are quarantined at Thimphu, Phuentsholing and Paro. Around 194 people were quarantined at Gedu in May and 78 in Wangduephodrang in July. 105 in July and 38 in August were quarantined at Punakha. 187 and 14 people were quarantined at Haa and Tsimasham respectively in August.   

The focal person of Phuentsholing quarantine facilities, Sonam Nyeanda said that with the limited quarantine facilities in Phuentsholing, it is a major challenge to arrange quarantine for the public. He said that the team has to arrange hotels in Thimphu and Paro, while hotels in these two dzongkhags also accommodate people from Samtse, Gelephu and from overseas.

Sonam Nyeanda clarifies that the quarantine facilitation is transparent and the public should not doubt the procedure “if favoritism is practiced.” He said that the public are quarantined as per series of registration and priority is given only to death and medical emergencies.

He said that soon the quarantine facilitation system would ease the procedure with the upcoming of an online registration portal.

The male female vise data is not compiled as it was felt not necessary and it was not static to ascertain dzongkhags vise data who moved out of Phuentsholing to other dzongkhags according the Phuentsholing facilitation officials.

Views of public

The pandemic has triggered a reappraisal of urban living, with increasing numbers fleeing city confines in search of green space.

The pandemic has turned so many lives upside down and, for the residents of Phuentsoling, the city they lives had suddenly felt risky at times and claustrophobic.

Coronavirus has prompted a shift: city dwellers and it became a push factor to that made people to leave the town.

Sonam Wangchuk who resigned from civil service despite had a plan to stay in Phuentsholing said that he had moved from the place as there are no business opportunities. He said, “I had a plan to start a small furniture industry but no opportunities for the business due to the pandemic.”

He also said that with border gate closed, it is difficult to import labourers.

A housewife living in the town Dema Tshering said that she had to leave Phuentsholing for medical reason. She said, “I felt to breathe fresh air of Thimpu and Paro after prolonged lockdown in Phuentsholing.” She will return after one month.

Another city dweller Thsewang Dema said, “I came to Thimphu for medical checkup.”

Dawa Zangmo said she came to Thimphu to attend training organized by De Suung.

Ugyen Choden who use run a wholesale liquor shop said that her business was totally dependent on Indian customer and entertainment business. Since the closure of Indo-Bhutan gate and Drayang and Karaokes, she could not earn and nothing was left to sustain livelihood paying high rent. “So I had to leave Phuentsholing,” she said.

The other reason stated was for better learning and nothing was left to sustain livelihood paying high rent. “So I had to leave Phuentsholing,” she said.

The other reason stated was for better learning of her child. She came to Paro and is planning to admit her child in one of the schools of Paro. 

Few residents of Phuentsholing Bhutan Times talked with, responded that the pandemic has been a significant factor.  For many, it has brought hurdles in their daily lives with no income and opportunities during the long lockdown.

Meanwhile, Executive Secretary of Phuentsholing Thromde Lungten Jamtsho said that cannot restrict the movement of people and should “respect individuals’ reasons.” He added, “Neither we encourage nor discourage to leave Phuentsholing.”

He said, “People have faced difficulties with prolonging lockdown and less earning opportunities. These factors obliviously have compelled the residents to move out Phuentsholing.”

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