Around 3,000 beneficiaries of the De-Suung Water Project

The first water project was started in 17 December 2020 at Kalapang under Mongar, and since then, the project was coordinated by National Service Department (NSD) under DeSuung office in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) and Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS).

As of now, 19 water projects have been completed in various locations in the country. There are 14 on-going projects, and an additional two projects are in the pipeline, one at Orong, Samdrupjongkhar and a landmark project in Gelephu.

2,546 households have been benefited with drinking water, while 671 households have been benefited with irrigation water. 7 water projects made irrigation water available to farm 1,383 acres of land. Around Nu 218 million (mn) has been spent on the projects so far.

The inception of the water project came through an inspirational speech by His Majesty The King, where it was mentioned that there are many youths who can take up such works. In addition, water crises and scarcity have been pertinent issues in most of the communities.

Though the government has allocated the budget to address the water issue, most contractors were not ready to take up the works because of the terrain, and fearing a loss.

The water project took over the works with hopes to solve the water scarcity issue. Some projects are integrated so that both drinking water and irrigation water can be supplied.

Before commencing the water projects in full swing, two pilot projects were conducted at Guma water project under Punakha and Semjong water project under Tsirang in November and December 2020 respectively. Gyalsung coordinated the two pilot projects.

The 42nd and 43rd batches where given the specialized training on water management, and around 3,900 DeSuups were trained to do the works. It is learnt that the project can somehow help in addressing the unemployment issues in the country.

Dechen Wangdi from NSD said that this project, not only helped in addressing the issues of water crisis at various places within the country, but  it also helped in skilling a person in water management.

“There are challenges faced, but at times, it has benefited at the community level, and at an individual level as well. Through the project, one can enhance their skills, which can be used for a lifetime. There are Desuups who have continuously worked, taking advantage of the project,” he added.

All project planning including location identification, budget and duration are taken care by other relevant partners, while NSD takes care of logistic, where the team alpha will go and build the camp for those who will carry out the projects.

He said, “The executive council will decide on which projects are to be executed, and accordingly, we carry out the works. There, we see if the project can be executed by us. However, we say no to those projects which would take more than a year as Desuups will have a tough time staying in the field for that long.”

They agree to those projects that are doable, which goes up to six to seven months, he said. Nevertheless, the pilot project at Guma and Semjong took 10 months and 1 year respectively due to change in the plan structure, and due to the needs of additional beneficiaries.

Though everything comes with a plan before the inception of the project, it somehow changes due to certain reasons, which ultimately leads to time extension of the project, and this is one major challenge on the technical aspect, he added.

Otherwise, “I don’t feel there is any major challenges faced by our fellow DeSuups. They are monitored by focal officers and armed personnel in the field. The team is sensitized on various criminal offences and responsibilities.”

When it comes to project execution, he said that they execute the project in cold places during summer, while they execute the works in warmer places during winter, as this would comfort the Desuups in the field.

This way, there are no major issues faced, however, there are minimal cases of injuries while working, which gets referred to the hospital immediately.

There are no set criteria to execute the work or place prioritization. However, the project looks at regional balance and areas that are in dire need of water.

The number of Desuups required depends upon the size of the project, and as of now, the highest Desuups deployed was under Jomotshangkha water project with 150 DeSuups.

DeSuung office procures PPEs and camp structure materials for the Desuups deployed for the water projects.

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