Roads are in place, but need constant efforts for upkeep from residents, farm produce are growing well, but need better marketing strategies, and sharing borders with a neighboring country brings its hassles, like cattle that eat up the crop growth in farms.
These are some of the issues tackled by villagers in the gewogs of Samtse on a daily basis.
Regarding the farm road, Yoeseltse Gup Ganga Prasad Limbu said almost all households are connected, except for six or seven of them.
“Government has done enough for us, and we are happy with what we have right now,” he added.
During summers, water becomes a huge issue and to fix this problem, the gewog collects money from every household to maintain and repair it.
“It high time to carry the load ourselves, and not depend on government always,” said Ganga Prasad.
The main source of income for gewog used to be ginger crop, but it is no longer cultivated as the gingers started to disintegrate under the ground. The people of the gewog have asked help from the RNR centre after which it took a soil sample. The farmers are still awaiting the results of the test.
At present, betel nut is the main source of income, but the farmers face problem while marketing it.
“It is difficult for us to sell our vegetable and sometimes it gets spoil. We have to send it to other dzongkhags, which cost extra expenditure,” said the Gup.
In terms of health services, he added, “Having Doctor and upgrading the BHU will not only benefit us but also other village nearby.”
The Yoeseltse gewog shares its boundary with India due to which it faces two problems. The main problem that the villagers and government servants face is the problem of Rupee shortage. Earlier the villagers found it easier to shop from the shops in India, but now they have to go to Samtse and Sipsu for shopping, incurring an extra expenditure while commuting.
The second problem is less of a financial nature per se, but the result ends up in monetary losses anyway.
Cattle coming into Bhutan from the Indian border become a big hassle for farmers as they come into paddy fields and eat everything. To prevent this, the farmers have to be on constant guard in their fields.
In terms of connectivity, the community centres provide available services under the government’s Government to Citizen (G2C) initiative.
“At present it is only photocopy and xerox. Internet service is not yet started, but G2C service is very useful for us,” said Gup Ganga Prasad.
The Non-Formal Education (NFE) education program has proved useful for people although they have to squeeze in the classes in between their busy summer season works in the fields.
“It is the busiest season for all of us, villagers, as we work in paddy field and cultivate vegetables, so there is less number of villagers attending NFE. NFE had helped my people and see more of them attending during winter season,” the Gup said.
Speaking on behalf of the village people the Yoeseltse Gup remarked, “Government has done enough for my gewog, and we are happy with it.”
For the 11th Five Year Plan the gewog has included farm road maintenance and repairing water pipes as main objectives.
According to the gup, there is need to focus on the grassroots level where there should be an equal opportunity for both rich and poor alike without discrimination.
The gewog has a population of around three thousand and has one high school.
“Equity and justice should be always put into practice. It should be taken into account from grassroots level so that we, rural people, get equal opportunity and diminish migrating in urban area,” said the Yoeseltse Gup.
Sangay Choda/ Thimphu