Athang still lacks road con­nec­tiv­ity

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor

It has be­came a daily sched­ule for the peo­ple of Athang village un­der Wang­duepho­drang Dzongkhag to climb up the steep ter­rain for about five hours and walk down the hill for about three hours from the near­est road point to reach to their village.

But once the farm road which is un­der con­struc­tion con­nects to their village, the peo­ple hope that it will re­duce their dif­fi­cul­ties and the liv­ing stan­dard of the peo­ple will im­prove.

A 48 years woman, Chador Tsh­er­ing said that due to lack of road con­nec­tiv­ity to their village, it is very difficult for them to carry load on their back while climb­ing up the moun­tain. She also added that there are chances of peo­ple dy­ing on the way while tak­ing them to the hos­pi­tal for fur­ther treat­ment al­though they have a sub post fa­cil­i­ties but of­ten the sub post is kept closed due to lack of ad­di­tional health staff.

She added that to­day they have only one health as­sis­tant to look af­ter the sub post. At times when he gone for other of­fi­cial works, the sub post needs to kept locked. “If we have road con­nec­tiv­ity, it will not have much prob­lem even if we have sin­gle health of­fi­cial in our village,” she added.

An­other 44 years woman, Pem Zam said that it is very difficult for them to mar­ket their farm prod­ucts which force them to pro­duce for the self con­sump­tion only. She added that if they have road con­nec­tiv­ity, the farm­ers have the po­ten­tial to pro­duce more farm prod­ucts and mar­ket more farm prod­ucts for in­come gen­er­a­tion. She also added that it will be difficult to af­ford for the main­te­nance of the farm roads once the con­struc­tion is over. She said that once the con­struc­tion of farm road is com­pleted, the main­te­nance costs have to bear by the vil­lagers.

She also added that why their an­ces­tors had set­tled in such re­mote place.

More­over, it has also in­flates the trans­porta­tion cost to the village. Lham 52 years said how it had in­flates the trans­porta­tion cost. She said that while trans­port­ing the CGI sheet for roof­ing their houses, they need to pay Nu.120 per piece which is very difficult to af­ford.

She even shared the dif­fi­cul­ties faced by the peo­ple while trans­port­ing the elec­tric trans­former and elec­tric equip­ments to their village. She said that while trans­port­ing elec­tric trans­former, one trans­former had taken them one month to reach to their village.

She fur­ther added that now only af­ter reach­ing all those heavy things

to their vil­lages, the con­struc­tion of road has started. How­ever it has been given to un­der­stand that the road will not reach to their village be­cause of short­age of funds.

The Tshogpa of Lokpokha chi­wog Sonam Dorji said that al­though the con­struc­tion of road will not reach to their village by this phase but the con­nec­tiv­ity of roads will reach near to their village in the next fi­nan­cial year and the fund will be used from gewog de­vel­op­ment grant. He added that peo­ple will have to walk about one kilo­me­ter from the road be­cause they don’t have fund to con­struct bridges since it re­quired about two bridges to be con­structed to their village.

The of­fi­ci­at­ing Gewog Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer Kin­ley Dukpa said that the farm road un­der con­struc­tion will not reach to the village in this fis­cal year be­cause of bud­get ceil­ing that does not per­mit in just sin­gle fi­nan­cial year. He added that dur­ing the next fi­nan­cial year the farm road will reach the village.

Mean­while, once the on­go­ing con­struc­tion of farm roads con­nects to Athang, it will ben­e­fit about 60 house­holds. They are purely de­pend- ing on agri­cul­ture farm prod­ucts.

BT also learnt that as there are no drink­ing wa­ter fa­cil­i­ties from the road point till the village mak­ing the life of the vil­lagers more difficult dur­ing the scorch­ing sum­mer heat.

As per the na­tional bud­get for the fis­cal year 2016-17 Athang Gewog un­der Wang­due Pho­drang Dzongkhag has been al­lot­ted a sum of Nu. 45.534 mil­lion for the de­vel­op­men­tal ac­tiv­i­ties.

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