Farmers from Gamana village in Darla gewog are waiting anxiously for more than two years for the completion of farm road to reach their village.
The farm road which started in September, 2015 was stopped in the same year due to inadequate budget. Only three-kilometer of the road has been competed so far and around Nu 0.53mn has been spent to complete the first cutting of the road. Around another three kilometers of the road need to be built to reach the village.
Farmers from Gamana village, which is two hours walk from the nearest road point at Deurali near Sinchula, still use the ancient route in absence of the farm road. They still ferry goods at their back to reach the village.
They say that the road has become a necessity especially during emergencies. Even if the village is blessed in terms of growing cardamom and orange, they say they earn less comparatively without the road as most incomes go to pay transportation charges to take these cash crops to the market.
The farmers also say that they are discouraged to take up commercial vegetable cultivation on their fertile farmland in absence of the road.
“The village is capable of producing commercial vegetables. But we have to spend half of the income on transportation,” a villager, Nado said.
Further, the problem is aggravated during the monsoon when the incomplete farm road becomes simply unpliable without the culvert and drainage system. The heavy monsoon of 2016 has further eroded most of the road.
The Tshogpa from Gamana-Keasri Chiwog, Dawa Tshering said the road was stopped without budget. “Nu 0.5mn was allocated and is expected to continue in the 12th Plan,” he said.
The Tshogpa also said that with increasing damages made by monsoon to the road, the villagers have planned to change the take-up point from another location, which is still undecided.
“We will finalize after meeting with the people,” he added.
Dawa Tshering said that additional Nu 0.5mn was spent on clearing the road and that there was no budget to go further with the works.
The road which was supposed to start earlier was kept on halt due to the Wangchhu Hydropower Project, which was later scrapped, according to the Tshogpa.
“We would be happy to get a package for road construction, including drains and culverts,” he added.
Farmers say the farm roads in other villages have already started getting black topped, while they are still praying for a farm road.
Tshering Zam, 38, said, “Many deaths have occurred while taking the sick to the hospital in absence of the road.”
The Darla Gup, Mil Kumar Mongar, said the farm road which was not in the 11th Plan was constructed with the Gewog Development Grant. The road would be continued in the 12th Plan.
“The road to Gamana and nearby villages was stopped as there were plans for the Wangchhu hydropower project. But it had not started. It was expected that the hydropower project will provide road to these villages,” the gup said.
“The roads to these villages were not in the plan. But now we will proceed in the next plan. We can wait for the project’s help which is still in doldrums,” the gup added.
Krishna Ghalley from Tala