This time of the year, the winter holidays, is a time of scarcity for Kanglung shopkeepers.
Kanglung in Trashigang, abuzz with business when Sherubtse College opens, turns into a ghost town literally when the students and staffs leave.
Right now the college is closed for the holidays, causing heartburn to Kanglung businesses, which barely manage to survive with the handful of remaining customers they compete for.
For this reason, most of the shops remain closed.
Chador Wangmo, a grocery shop owner in Kanglung, said that college students and the staffs are the shopkeepers’ main customers therefore a major portion of their income depends on the Sherubsteans’ visits.
“During vacation, my business is in doldrums,” she said.
According to her, it is usually very difficult to meet the demand for vegetables but these days, vegetables rot and have to be dumped.
Another shopkeeper from Kanglung said that during vacations he closes shop as the number of customers trickles down to no more than a few.“Only a few locals visit my shop. Sometimes, not a single customer turns up.”
Karma, owner of Tiny restaurant, said that he earns around Nu 3,000-4,000 a day during peak season but currently, his earnings have dropped to as little as Nu 1,000 a day.
Sherab Gyaltshen, a student of Sherubtse College, said that when the college is on, the town is bustling with people and business runs at its best but the situation does a volte-face during the winter break.
Locals of Kanglung consider Sherubtse College the harbinger of drastic development in the town over the past many years.
Fifty-year old Dorji also attributed many positive changes in Kanglung to the college. He said that earlier only seven to ten shops existed in Kanglung but now there are many. Sherubtse College will resume from February.
Jigme Wangchen from Kanglung, Trashigang