Lyonchhen visits gewogs in Wangduephodrang
Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay encouraged the people of Athang Gewog in Wangduephodrang to avail themselves of the Rural Enterprise Development Corporation Limited ( REDCL) loans.
The government has implemented REDCL at the low interest of 4 percent for the borrower to help them to start and grow a business such as dairy, piggery and poultry among others. Prime Minister encouraged taking up farming during his gewogs visit.
However, Athang Gewog has not availed of the loans from the REDCL so far and there are no diary, poultry and piggery farms. The REDCL loans have a minimal interest to initiate developmental activities in the rural gewogs.
Lyonchhen also talked on the wildlife conflict in the villages of remote Athang. Despites, farmers working long hours under unpredictable weather conditions, their crops were damaged by livestock and wild predators. To protect and improve agricultural productivity and profitability of farming, about 28.5- kms of electric fencing was installed in Athang gewog.
Electric fencing has turned out to be effective in protecting crops. However, Lyonchhen told the people that Athang facing wildlife conflict despite having electric fencing might be because of management of the fences.
Lyonchhen said that the people should take full ownership of the facilities provided to them and to ensure proper maintenance of them.
Besides, access to better facilities and better telecommunications network was another problem villagers faces. Lyonchhen told the gathering that the mobile connectivity issues will be forwarded to the Ministry of Information and Communications.
The farmers are happy about the arrival of road but worried about how it might benefit the farmers because the road gets blocked in times of heavy rains. Villager thinks that the road will benefit the farmers if the government helps maintain it.
On farm roads maintenance, Lyonchhen said that people must equally work hard to look after the roads. Lyonchhen said that the Gewog Development Grant, Dzongkhag Development Grant and Dzongkhag machine rides would be of great help in maintaining the roads.
Lyonchhen also informed the gathering that the bridge to Athang village constructed by Jaypee will remain after the completion of their project. Initially, there was a plan to dismantle the bridge after the comple- tion of the project. Lyonchhen said that the company agreed to keep the bridge to benefit the locals.
Meeting the people throughout the gewogs, he reminded that the people are blessed with His Majesty travelling all around the country and that himself draws inspiration for all his visits from His Majesty. Lyonchhen said the people that the government and the people must work together to serve His Majesty the King and to strengthen our country.
Lyonchhen said that the imposed democracy Bhutan received from Their Majesties and people’s acceptance to it by participating in the democratic process is another reason for meeting the people in their gewogs. Lyonchhen said, “Our focus is on decentralization and in strengthening the Local Government.”
Athang is one of the most remote and least accessible gewog in Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag with poor communication network. The settlements are widely scattered which comprises four chiwogs, Lophokhaphaktakha, Lomtshokha, Rukha and Lawa Lamga.
Officially, both the places are two days’ walk from Kamichhu. The chiwogs of Athang includes the village of Lophokha, Phaktakha, Kago and Lomtshokha.
Athang Gewog consists of 167 households with the population of 1,980 as per the census record of 2012 sparsely settled on an estimated area of 746- km square.
Meanwhile, Lyonchhen also visited Daga Gewog in Wangduephodrang Dzongkhag. Lyonchhen has so far visited 173 gewogs out of 205 gewogs. Lyonchen Tshering Tobgay was accompanied by Health Minister Tandin Wangchuk.