Sunday, 1 March 2009

Bhutan : Road closure affects business between Gedu and Sorchen

March 1: One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Ask the people living in the vicinity of Gedu and Sorchen on the Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway. They could not agree more. Because of the road widening works, the road between Gedu and Sorchen is closed from 6 am in the morning to 5 pm in the evening.

Shops along this stretch of road depend almost entirely on travelers. Apart from the shops, people from nearby villages make their living selling farm produce like cheese and butter, vegetables, and dried chilies to passersby. But now with the road closure, business here has screeched to a halt.

Their loss is the gain of people living along the temporary bypass road between Pasakha and Manitar. With all the vehicles passing through this stretch of road, it is boom time for people here.

About 600 vehicles pass along this road with countless number of wary passengers stopping every now and then for refreshments, buy stuff or simply stretch their tired legs.

Vendors have mushroomed along this road. Business has been good and most vendors said they earn about Nu. 500 even on their worst days. But their windfall is coming at a great cost. They have to brave the cold and live under a cloud of dust churned out by the passing vehicles.

As they say every cloud has a silver lining. And the silver lining for business people in Gedu is coming in the form of Gaeddu College of Business Studies. Soon the college will open after the long winter break and new students will be joining the college. All this will mean more business for shopkeepers, hoteliers, restaurateurs and vendors alike.

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