Lalaykha village struggles without farm road

Villagers of Lalaykha village, one of the remotest under Chhukha Dzongkhag is still waiting for a farm road. The village which borders with Denchukha, under Samtse takes almost a day’s walk from Phuentsholing town.

Residents say that absence of road has been a major hurdle in the development of the village which, they claim is pending. More than 20 households in the chiwog walk four hours from the nearest farm road which has reached Lingden village. They need to cross mountains and streams to reach the nearest road.  The villagers have been raising the need for the road during officials’ visits and meetings at the gewog.

Forty-nine year old Kuber Man Rai said the absence of road has demotivated farmers in carrying out agricultural works. The villagers rely on vegetables and cardamom including jersey farming for survival. “We have been hoping that a road will reach our village,” he said.

The villagers have formed a dairy farming cooperative. Almost 75% of the villagers practise jersey farming in the village. The villagers unable to sell the fresh milk process cheese and butter. But they spoil before reaching the market mostly during summer because of rain and heat.

Makar Dhoj Rai, 45, another villager said that without a road, it has become difficult to market their products during emergencies. Horses and laborers are still prime means of transport in the village. “There is no assurance whether we will get a road. It would have been very helpful,” he said. The village remains disconnected during summer most of the time.

There is an Outreach Clinic in the village and the nearest school is in Lingden, more than four hours’ walk from the village. The villagers take turns to attend to their children who are kept at makeshifts near the school. Some keep their children with relatives.

Lalaykha’s Chiwog Tshogpa, Ram Bdr. Rai, said that a proposal has been submitted to the gewog administration. It would take around 14km of road to connect the village. Numerous surveys were conducted for the road. The Tshogpa said that the final survey will be done again this year before the work for road construction begins. “ We are hopeful the road will come about this year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Phuentsholing Gup, Birkha Bdr Rai said that the road has been planned and will start from next year.  Twenty four roads are being planned for the gewog in the 12th plan. Lalaykha’s would be the longest.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing