Gewog to ghost-villages, in absence of services

The urban-drift, a phenomenon that eventually strips every living-soul, from one avenue to relocate them, most often-than-not transitions into an explosive vessel of overpopulation, pollution, litter and other social maladies.

It’s fairly a worldwide event but it looks bad when it happens at home.

In the gewog of Shingkhar, out of 300 households, 10 houses have now turned into ruins, 15 houses are vacant and more than 100 acres of land have fallowed.

The gewog has become a ghost-village, as every able-bodied being with a desire to improve their lives have migrated to the capital city, Thimphu or to other nearby towns.

“People have left the village because our village does not have infrastructure facilities unlike other villages. Most youth left the village for studies in private schools and never returned home,” said Shingkhar Gup Nidup.

In the past, 30 people had already left for resettlement which makes the village look more deserted.

As of now, there are only around 3700 people out of 6000 population. The remainder has left to try their luck outside the bounds of the remoteness.

Gewog Administration Officer (GAO) Yonten Dorji, said people have left mainly because of money. “They thought that they could make better money elsewhere”.

Among those who left, most were skilled in carpentry which by logic seems apt, that there is demand for skilled carpenters in the many construction-sites which popped-like-Daisies in urban Thimphu.

In the recent Dzongkhag Yargye Tshogdu meet, a special committee was established to study the matter. Gup Nidup shared his views:

He said they even came-up with provisions to charge Nu 10,000 per household as penalty in the event of such cases for the future.

“The signs are optimistic. Electricity will reach here at the end of 2013 and road construction has already started,” said Mangi Ap Sonam Dargey.

He said that if the gewog at least has road and electricity, people might come back to their birthplace and retain their homes.

The Bhutanese spoke to National Council (NC) MP from Zhemgang, Pema Lhamo on the issue. She said migration is not a one-solution problem but it has to be a multi-dimension approach

“Migration is a long-term problem and NC has insisted on balance development,” said Zhemgang NC MP Pema Lhamo.

The Zhemgang National Assembly (NA) MP, Tshering Dorji said migration has always been a serious issue in Shingkhar gewog.

“Almost 50 % of population left their homes and the very reason is absence of road and electricity,” said MP Tshering Dorji.

He said that after completion of road and electrification works people might return to their villages.

“I personally ask villagers to go back and work hard, as rural life is much better than the one in the urban-sprawl. And few did take my advice; which is a good sign,” said MP Tshering Dorji

Almost 36 kms of road in the gewog has been completed but due to the monsoon, all construction works are prolonged. However, by next June Shingkhar gewog will be electrified and connected with a farm road.

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