Athang still lacks road connectivity
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.