Long queues at Samtse border gate frustrates residents

Waiting in long queues means loss of time and enduring various hardships and inconveniences. This is exactly what one has to think about before visiting the nearby Indian border towns via the Samtse border gate. Samtse residents say long processes and poor queue management system at the border gate are causing unnecessary long queues and delaying their travels, especially during weekends and market days.

This is the scene on a typical Sunday. People can be seen patiently waiting in long queues to visit the Chamurchi town and other nearby Indian towns for various reasons.

With nothing much happening at the exit gate, the line is moving at a snail’s pace. And on the other end, the line is simply growing with more people joining the queue.

While some cancel their plans to visit the Indian town by simply looking at the lines, some stay behind.

They go on to endure what seemed like the longest wait of their lives.

Sangay Dawa, a Samtse resident says it would be difficult to cross the border even after waiting for the whole day.

Today, to visit India from Samtse, one has to do a Check Post Management System (CPMS) registration. People have to also undergo manual data entry with police officials and produce an original copy of Citizenship Identity Card.

Dawchu Drukpa, another resident in Samtse says it would be better if they are allowed to go to India by simply doing CPMS. “All details will be there in CPMS. We don’t have to do separate data entry. And it would be better if there were some considerations on weekends because more people turn up to visit India during that time. Today, we have to unnecessarily wait for hours in queues.”

“As a public, we are suffering a lot with such rules. I don’t know the rationale behind such rules because we do CPMS and all details should be there by default. But we have to again do manual data entry with the police. It is the same whether you are entering or exiting the border gate,” said Tej Bdr Mongar, another resident in Samtse.

The police, however, say that the process is not very long. They claim an individual only takes about 20 to 25 seconds to complete their documentation works upon reaching the exit and entry gate.

Likewise, in the absence of a proper online registration system like that of the Pedestrian Terminal in Phuentshogling, the police said they have no other option but to make people do the CPMS and also take down their details for immigration purposes.

Moreover, they say that it is only on Wednesdays and Sundays that the line gets a little longer as many residents opt to visit India for shopping from the Haat Bazaar held in Chamurchi. There are not many people going out on other days.

Although there are no official studies carried out on why most Bhutanese prefer to go to India, many say one of the main reasons is to buy vegetables on Wednesday and Sunday. The Samtse district administration is now planning to make vegetable markets available on Wednesday and Sunday here in Bhutan as well.

According to records with the Police, Wednesday and Sunday witnesses the highest number of movement of people with over 1500 people passing the border gate in Samtse in a day.

Passang Dorji, Samtse

Edited by Kipchu

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