Business in Dagana’s roadside settlement at Sunkosh is slowly collapsing. The settlement, once the business hub in the area has now become a shadow of its former self. More recently, business has slumped after the pandemic. People say with new roads, many shops have popped up in the nearby places which have affected business in the area.
The settlement is located just next to the Sunkosh River in Tsangkha Gewog. The town has 11 shops and hotels. But unlike in the past, shopkeepers mostly remain idle these days.
Rinzin Wangchuk, a shopkeeper says there is hardly any income now. “The income from my shop is just enough for our daily expenses. Saving money is out of question now. We are in a difficult time now.”
“We are not able to sell goods after buying from wholesale dealers. As a result, most of our goods get expired and we have to throw them when BAFRA officials inspect our shops,” said Darjay Wangdi, another shopkeeper.
Tshering Pema who also runs a grocery shop in the area says in the past she used to get Nu 5,000 to Nu 20,000 per day. “But now we get only around Nu 800 to Nu 1,000 in a day and at times we land up without a single customer in a day.”
Restaurant owners share a similar story. They say their businesses could improve if passenger buses halt for lunch in their area.
Pema, a restaurant owner said that sometimes they get hardly any customer in a day. “Earlier, the business was better but it couldn’t pick up to the pre-pandemic levels.”
Moreover, the opening of Dagapela-Lhamoidzingkha road and Dagana-Wangdue Phodrang bypass from Tseza Gewog could further affect as the roads provide alternate routes for travellers without having to travel via Sunkosh. The two roads were opened to traffic in the last couple of months.
It is not known if Sunkosh would ever become the bustling town it once used to be.
Pema Tshewang, Tsirang
Edited by Kipchu