Bapchay’s irrigation channel that never saw water

Agriculture: Villagers of Bapchay near Taksha-Silli in Daga gewog are still waiting for completion of the village’s only irrigation channel that started about six years ago and left incomplete halfway.

The village is around one and half hours walking distance from Taksha-silli primary school. The school, around two and half hours drive from Takshachu on the Wangdue-Tsirang highway.

To ease the irrigation water scarcity of this remote village comprising 50 households, the government has spent more than Nu 1.2M to construct the irrigation channel of five and half km, said Tenzin, a villager.

However, the channel never benefited people and the money spent was a waste.

“We are still waiting for answers on why and how the concerned authorities did not take any action on the contractor,” said an elderly villager. “We suspect that the work was given to a sub-contractor who has left the work incomplete.”

This has happened before the first local government elections in 2011 and nothing has been done to resolve the issue. Before people could realize that the irrigation channel was never going to complete, both the local leaders and officials concerned were changed.

Kuenga Tshering, another villager said Bapchay has fertile land and potential to grow almost every crop including paddy. However, given the acute water shortage, people could only grow crops like wheat, maize and barley.

“People have become too dependent on rainwater,” he said, adding that most people own land in both Taksha and Bapchay.

Villager Tenzin vividly recalls cultivating paddy when he was a boy before the scarcity of water became a major problem.

Daga gewog gup Kencho Namgay said although it was an issue from the past, the gewog tried to resolve the issue but they couldn’t find any record of the irrigation channel construction.

“I only know that the source of irrigation water was Tserichu but there are no records on the budget or the contractor with the gewog office,” said the gup.

In 2014, following people’s request to complete the irrigation channel, the gewog has even proposed for budget but the proposal was rejected.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue

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