Different gewogs in Trashigang like Sakteng, Udzorong, Khaling, Bartsham, Phongmed, Radi and Shongphu are facing the twin problem of water shortage for both irrigation and drinking and poor road conditions to boot.
After numerous delays, the construction of a road was completed in 2017 and although it has benefitted people in different ways, people of Sakteng are not very happy with the condition of the road as the road gets easily damaged by rainfall during summer. The extended road was not blacktopped.
Sakteng Gup Sangay Dorji said, “The road will accelerate developmental projects in the gewog and we are extremely happy but the condition of the road is not good as the road is new. There won’t be many problems in winter but during summer, the road gets totally damaged by rainfall and only heavy vehicles can ply”.
A shopkeeper in Sakteng, Pema Dema said, “The road has helped us in many ways and especially for shopkeepers like us because in the past when we didn’t have a road, we had to use horses as a mode of transportation and it was so inconvenient as it would take two days from Phongmed to Sakteng. Today we can easily reach Sakteng in just a few hours.”
Phongmed and Radhi
Phongmed Gup, Palden Dorji said that poor condition of farm roads and shortage of water for drinking is the major issues in many chiwogs in Phongmed gewog. People who stay near Lhakhang areas in Phongmed face shortage drinking water.
Lakten, 45 from the Lhakhang area said, “People residing in the Lhakhang area face constant water shortage for drinking due to drying sources. There are two water sources at Brakseng and Labari and water from Brakseng is supplied to Lhakhang areas but because the source is drying up every winter the water is not sufficient. Water from Labari source is distributed to so many places and even the water for irrigation is taken from Labari.”
Radi Gup Kulung said, “As people in Radi are solely dependent on agriculture for livelihood, shortage of water for irrigation is the main problem in the gewog and villagers have to depend on the rainfall.
He said, “The government has planned to start a big project on water in collaboration with Japan, unfortunately, the project was canceled due to the unfavorable land structure. Water shortage is always an issue in the gewog’.
Khaling Mangmi Tshewang said, “In Khaling, farm roads have to be improved but we are not able to improve the road as we don’t have sufficient budget allocated for improvement of roads. During the fiscal year 2018 to 2019, the total budget approved for the improvement of farm roads is Nu 1 mn but as there are 6 chiwogs in Khaling and so the budget is not sufficient.
Pema Yangden, Udzorong Mangmi said in the past, people faced water shortage for irrigation but today water for drinking is also not sufficient as water sources are drying up every year.
She said, “Because of less rainfall or shortage of water, most crops are destroyed by pests and most lands also turned into forests.” In 2018, in Rezor chiwog, more than 6 acres of bean cultivation was destroyed by pests causing massive loss to our farmers”.
Farmers from Thena village under Cheya chiwog said that due to the shortage of water for irrigation, most of their crops are damaged or their land has turned into forest. The shortage of water has affected them badly.
Bartsham gewog also faced the problem of poor road conditions and water shortage for irrigation. Even a few lands in Bartsham gewog has turned into the forest from water shortage. Recently people are also facing drinking water shortages. During such shortages, people have to walk 30 to 45 minutes to repair water pipes.