Agriculture: Irrigation problems that have plagued the people of Dangdung and Wengkhang of Langthel gewog in Trongsa are expected to be solved by May next year.

A new irrigation channel will be ready by then.

Farmers there have depended on rain to transplant their paddy (changla) so far. This year, they even delayed changla as there was not enough water for irrigation.

Namgay, 57, from Dangdung said the farmers have tried various ways to keep their paddy fields under cultivation. “We had trapped water from other sources besides the existing source but it is always lost on the way as it seeped through the old damaged concrete drains,” he said.

While there is enough water at the source, most of it is lost on the way to the fields.

Namgay said he is confident that the problem will be solved. “The people of Dangdung and Langthel own the majority of paddy fields in Trongsa and such an initiative is encouraging for the farmers,” he said.

The new irrigation channel was supposed to have been completed by December this year. However, construction was deferred by almost six months after the people of Dangdung requested it.

Finance minister Namgay Dorji, who inaugurated the irrigation project told the public that the contractor would have already finished transporting his equipment to the site by now if the work was carried out on time.

Lyonpo said prolonging the project’s duration is wrong as the government had already awarded the work to the contractor in April. “Delay of the project means extra cost for the government as the fund comes on loan,” he said. Lyonpo added that it could possibly have an impact on the changla next year.

Lyonpo also said that he is suspicious that the people of Dangdung are not working as hard as they used to. People seem to be relaxed after the arrival of the project, he said.

“The government is spending a huge amount on the construction of the irrigation channel and the water should not flow directly into the Mangdechhu once it’s constructed,” he said. Lyonpo repeatedly reminded the people to be engaged in farm works.

The villagers of Dangdung responded that they had to request the deferment of the project since it was almost time for changla this year when the project was to start.

Namgay said that the contractor transporting materials in vehicles to the site could have disrupted even the small amount of water they were getting this season.

The World Bank funded the Nu 25 million project and it is expected to benefit some 200 acres of land belonging to 80 households both in Wengkhang and Dangdung chiwogs.

Nima Wangdi | Dangdung