The nation of Bhutan has been exporting potatoes to India for a long time now, but it is not yet in the import list in India.
India’s border town of Jaigaon has stopped importing Bhutanese potatoes. The reason for this is because Phuentsholing is declared a Covid-19 red zone, the Indian side says.
FCBL’s director for the department of corporate business, Dorji Tashi, said although the export was going smoothly despite the pandemic, sudden disruptions across the border was causing export problems. “It seems potato is not a registered item,” he said.
Dorji Tashi also said that Indian traders who deal in potatoes are willing to take the produce from Bhutanese individuals ready to export. But the export is not allowed, he added.
The issue is also a repeat of what happened with cardamom export 2017. After the introduction of GST in India, export of cardamom via Jaigaon was abruptly stopped. With the GST implementation, the customs office installed computerised system called the ICEGATE in Jaigaon and other border towns that links trade to Bhutan.
This time, traders are questioning why such move to stop potato export was initiated three years after the GST was introduced. With everything fine until a few days, traders say there must be parties across the border with vested interests who want to stop the export of potatoes.