Male Iron Rat Year
Nima | Gelephu
Sarpang would remember the bygone year for the tragic loss of brave soldiers at Maochhu and the sacrifices they made.
It also exposed how the dzongkhag that lived with heavy rainfall and flash floods every summer is in need of serious preparation to face such unprecedented mishaps. When people were stranded in raging Maochhu, rescue operation was a challenge, showing the focus and way forward for the dzongkhag.
Boulder export, which was stopped even before the Covid-19 pandemic sealed the border gates, took time to resume. The export came to stop since the issue of overloading and under-invoicing surfaced in April 2019.
Despite the potential to be one of the most important export items in the country, the trade did not resume as expected. The export was lowest in 2020.
More than 100 residential buildings were constructed, solving the problem of housing crunch in the fast-developing thromde. Some construction remains incomplete owing to the disturbances caused by the pandemic.
In agriculture sector, the dzongkhag received the highest economic contingency plan budget. More farmers started to grow vegetables on large scale. More than a hundred acres of fallow land were brought under cultivation. However, for the farmers who expanded commercial farming on government land, the future and investment made during the pandemic remain uncertain. They have not received any formal certification for land use.
However, the dzongkhag that prepared to produce the required vegetables in winter to avoid the shortage of vegetables in times of pandemic could not produce chillies as expected. Agriculture officials cited many reasons, including prolonged monsoon. The dzongkhag made news when chilli price rocketed to Nu 800 a kg in Gelephu.
It also stayed in the news when a businesswoman breached the mandatory quarantine protocol. It exposed the lapses of the dzongkhag Covid-19 taskforce and quarantine rules in place. Lack of accountability and transparency gave more room for speculations.