Basic health facilities, Tsamdro, road, and power supply impacts Sakteng gewog

Although Sakteng gewog under Trashigang Dzongkhag is provided with a few of the basic amenities, erratic power supply and basic health facilities, insufficient tsamdro or pasture land, poor condition of roads and power supply are some of the major issues faced the farmers in the gewog.

According to the people of Sakteng gewog, though they have basic facilities like road, electricity and network connection, people are unhappy that quality of such services rendered.

Sakteng Gup Sangay Dorji said, “The government has provided numerous supports and as compared to past, the village has undergone tremendous progress. The government has provided us various facilities like road, electricity and network connection and we are happy and we will always be grateful to the government.”

He said, “However, villagers face several challenges, one being we still do not have proper health facilities or services. Since the Basic Health Unit (BHU) is grade II, we do not have basic facilities such as Ultrasound, blood testing, and Mother and Child Health (MCH) care facilities.”

He added that because of this, women have to travel all the way to Trashigang for the blood test or ultrasound or to deliver babies. “Even during some emergency cases, since we do not have proper facilities and experienced personnel, people have to go to Trashigang for treatment,” he said.

Sakteng gup added, “We have discussed the issue with the higher authority but we were told that if we want our BHU to be developed, we need grade I BHU and for us to be upgraded, there should be an increasing number of patients every year and even the population of the gewog should not be less than 5000 people, thus we are not eligible.”

He said, “During summer livestock like Yak, horse, sheep, and goat are taken to lower places like Phongmey and Radi and during winter they are taken to high altitude areas like Sakteng. As people here depend on livestock, tsamdro is the main problem”.

According to the Land Act of Bhutan 2007, the government has declared that even the tsamdro that we had, now belongs to the government.  In Sakteng, we have more cattle and less pasture land. Tshamro issue has been there from a very long time, he added.

He said that in the past years, Sakteng has also witnessed severe floods and windstorm destroying several houses. “The river between Pusa and Sakteng swells during monsoon, so there is a possibility that it might wash away sakteng village and Tengma village which is also located near the river.  We are worried that it might damage the road too”.

Leki Dema, 28, from Sakteng said, “Though we are happy with the completion of construction of the road, the condition of the road is not good. During summer it is damaged by rainfall and during winter it is blocked by snowfall, so most of the time or throughout the year, it becomes difficult for vehicles to ply by, especially a light vehicle. Only four wheeler vehicles can pass by”.

She added that the government has also provided the people with electricity, but she said that most of the time power goes off at least once in a day and sometimes are left without power for the whole day.

Nima Dawa, 55, from Sakteng said, “The people of Sakteng are in need of proper health facilities and services. Even if we do not have all the facilities that big hospitals have, certain facilities like blood and urine testing, ultrasound and mother and child health facilities are required as our mothers travel all the way till Trashigang to deliver a child”.

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