… its condition has deteriorated over the years

Choki Wangmo | Chukha

Baeyul Kunzang, the remote village in Bongo, Chukha was connected with a farm road in 2021. However, every monsoon, landslides wash away a major portion of the road that connects the village to other parts of the dzongkhag.

Last monsoon, a stretch of the 12-km farm road was washed away by a landslide below the village. People have been walking up the 2km steep slope since then.

Residents said that the steep rocky soil was challenging for the elderly and those seeking health care services.

“Although we are connected by a farm road, it is useless. We have to carry grocery items on our backs,” said an elderly woman from the village. She travelled for about two hours to Jigmechhu to get herself checked.

Known for its rich mandarin harvest, transporting the produce has also been tedious for many of the mandarin growers.

Gongto from Gedaphu said that they have to carry mandarin on their backs up to the road point. The steep gradient of the path is not feasible for ponies.

“The farm road construction began in 2017. It took five years to build the road and it is not fully usable,” he said.

The dzongkhag administration helped maintain the road by constructing walls along the slide-prone areas.

Residents buy grocery items and other goods from Lhamoidzingkha, Jigmechhu, and Gedu towns.

Some residents said that transporting grocery items to the village during festivals and occasions is challenging as they have to carry huge quantities uphill. There are a few young men called “human ponies” who transport goods for people in the village. People pay fees for the load delivered.

“It’s inconvenient. The road is essential for developing the rural areas,” said a 79-year-old, Serchu.

In the past, without a bridge connecting them to other villages in the gewog, people used ropeways to commute through Wangchhu. It takes about five hours from Baeyul Kunzang to Jigmechhu on foot.

Bongo Gup Tshering Penjor said that maintaining the farm road was challenging due to the steep gradient and sandy soil. Last monsoon washed away the road foundation, he said, adding that there are plans to maintain the farm road.

Chukha Dzongdag Minjur Dorji said that the realignment works were awarded to the contractors and the works would begin soon.

According to last year’s media reports, the dzongkhag has allocated Nu 50M to make the road stable around the season.