Ga­mana farm road works come to a halt

Business Bhutan - - Money - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley

Farm­ers from Ga­mana vil­lage in Darla gewog are wait­ing anx­iously for more than two years for the com­ple­tion of farm road to reach their vil­lage.

The farm road which started in Septem­ber, 2015 was stopped in the same year due to in­ad­e­quate bud­get. Only three­k­ilo­me­ter of the road has been com­peted so far and around Nu 0.53mn has been spent to com­plete the first cut­ting of the road. Around another three kilo­me­ters of the road need to be built to reach the vil­lage.

Farm­ers from Ga­mana vil­lage, which is two hours walk from the near­est road point at Deu­rali near Sinchula, still use the an­cient route in ab­sence of the farm road. They still ferry goods at their back to reach the vil­lage.

They say that the road has be­come a ne­ces­sity es­pe­cially dur­ing emer­gen­cies. Even if the vil­lage is blessed in terms of grow­ing car­damom and or­ange, they say they earn less com­par­a­tively with­out the road as most in­comes go to pay trans­porta­tion charges to take these cash crops to the mar­ket.

The farm­ers also say that they are dis­cour­aged to take up com­mer­cial veg­etable cul­ti­va­tion on their fer­tile farm­land in ab­sence of the road.

“The vil­lage is ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing com­mer­cial veg­eta­bles. But we have to spend half of the in­come on trans­porta­tion,” a vil­lager, Nado said.

Fur­ther, the prob­lem is ag­gra­vated dur­ing the mon­soon when the in­com­plete farm road be­comes sim­ply un­pli­able with­out the cul­vert and drainage sys­tem. The heavy mon­soon of 2016 has fur­ther eroded most of the road.

The Tshogpa from Ga­mana-Keasri Chi­wog, Dawa Tsh­er­ing said the road was stopped with­out bud­get. “Nu 0.5mn was al­lo­cated and is ex­pected to con­tinue in the 12th Plan,” he said.

The Tshogpa also said that with in­creas­ing dam­ages made by mon­soon to the road, the vil­lagers have planned to change the take-up point from another lo­ca­tion, which is still un­de­cided.

“We will fi­nal­ize af­ter meet­ing with the peo­ple,” he added.

Dawa Tsh­er­ing said that ad­di­tional Nu 0.5mn was spent on clear­ing the road and that there was no bud­get to go fur­ther with the works.

The road which was sup­posed to start ear­lier was kept on halt due to the Wangchhu Hy­dropower Project, which was later scrapped, ac­cord­ing to the Tshogpa.

“We would be happy to get a pack­age for road con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing drains and cul­verts,” he added.

Farm­ers say the farm roads in other vil­lages have al­ready started get­ting black topped, while they are still pray­ing for a farm road.

Tsh­er­ing Zam, 38, said, “Many deaths have oc­curred while tak­ing the sick to the hospi­tal in ab­sence of the road.”

The Darla Gup, Mil Kumar Mon­gar, said the farm road which was not in the 11th Plan was con­structed with the Gewog Devel­op­ment Grant. The road would be con­tin­ued in the 12th Plan.

“The road to Ga­mana and nearby vil­lages was stopped as there were plans for the Wangchhu hy­dropower project. But it had not started. It was ex­pected that the hy­dropower project will pro­vide road to these vil­lages,” the gup said.

“The roads to these vil­lages were not in the plan. But now we will pro­ceed in the next plan. We can wait for the project’s help which is still in dol­drums,” the gup added.

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