I was in Bhutan recently visiting families after a long time and for my return journey my aunt reserved a taxi to drop me to the airport in Bagdogra. We left early in the morning to ensure we didn’t have any problem with the traffic and our journey most part was good travelling through miles and miles of tea gardens even the roads were full of pot holes. After about an hour of travelling we decided to stop for a comfort break at the hotel nearby which incidentally all public transports are supposed to stop.
We continued with our journey after a while and making good progress as the traffic was relatively quiet. After about forty five minutes of driving we arrived at the Indian check post middle of no where and we were asked to stop. We didn’t know why we were asked to stop nor did the driver as he looked bemused. The taxi was an Indian taxi and there was no need to check but we thought may be they are being officious as there has been few problems lately in the borders. The police spoke to the driver which we didn’t hear or could make out what was being said. Our driver said they wish to see the documents and he will explain it to us later, explain later what we thought but before we could ask him, he took his vehicle documents and went inside the check post hut. He didn’t come out for several minutes and we were beginning to worry why it was taking so long. At last we saw him come out of the hut not looking good from his facial expression and he didn’t have his documents either. We knew something was wrong. He came and asked auntie if he could have 1500 rupees and said he will explain it later. All these explain later was beginning to worry me and I didn’t want to be late for my flight. We gave him the money and he went in. Few minutes later he came out with his documents followed by the policeman with money in his hand waving in the air and a man appeared from the car parked behind us walking to the policeman. He handed the cash to this stranger.
We left the check post and was glad to see the back of it. Our driver then explained why we had to pay them and it wasn’t about checking documents at all. The reason we were or the driver was asked to pay was all because we didn’t stop and eat at the hotel where we stopped for a comfort break. The hotel and the checkpoint were in cahoots with charging any vehicles not stopping and eating there. I could not believe my ears when I heard that, how can such a thing be even conceivable. It is a daylight robbery and by the police who should be upholding the law. I was so furious and incomprehensible that such a crime should go on unnoticed. This is the first of several unbelievable corruption I have ever come across and I know this won’t be the last as long as human greed cease to exist.