At least 15 acres of paddy field have been left fallow at Thimyul village in Gangzur, Lhuentse this year after a flood washed away the water source last year.

The land, which belongs to Thimyul Dratshang is cultivated by about 20 households of Kelungkhar village.

The flood, which affected about 40 households, also washed away two suspension bridges over Shawa river and Kurichu river.

Farmer Norzin Lhamo, 31, is one of the land users. The field is today used as a grazing land and has no paddy to harvest for her family or the dratshang.

She said that without the suspension bridge over Kurichu river, it takes them more than two hours on foot to cross across from Kelungkhar village to Thimyul. Until June last year when the bridge existed, it took them 20 minutes.

Another farmer Lhamo, 30, said there is no irrigation channel for farmers like her who cultivate on the land and depend on the harvest for their livelihood.

Tashi Wangmo, 24, a cow herder said she has been raising her Jersey cows at Thimyul for over a decade now. Everyday, she starts from home 7am to walk to Gangzur gewog, crosses the suspension bridge over Kurichu and then walks another hour to reach Thimyul.

“I have a very difficult time now,” she said.

Thimyul dratshang lam, Drupju Tenzin said that annually, the dratshang collected about 1,000kgs of paddy from the 20 households but none could cultivate this year. “I don’t know what to say.”

He also said that the monks have to walk about an hour to get a kilogramme of salt from a shop nearby the gewog office.

When monks go to conduct rituals in villages or fall sick, the long walking distance becomes a challenge. The dratshang has written to the dzongkhag administration to construct a new suspension bridge.

Shomshing chiwog tshogpa Sonam Lhamo said she raised the issue during the gewog tshogdu and requested local government leaders on the need to reconstruct the bridge.

Gangzur gup Kinzang Dorji said that after the tshogpa raised the issue, local leaders visited the site to propose a new bridge in the 12th Plan. As soon as the budget is released, he said, the construction of a bailey bridge would begin.

Shomshing tshogpa Sonam Lhamo said the reconstruction and maintenance of the irrigation canal was awarded to a contractor and was about to complete when it was washed away again. However, the reconstruction work has resumed, she said.

Tashi Phuntsho | Thimyul