Phub Dem | Haa

For the locals of isolated and remote Thangdokha, Ngatse, and Damekha under Gakiling gewog in Haa, a bridge over Amochhu would make a lot of difference.

For more than five years, the locals of the gewog have been making do with a temporary bridge to take their cash crops such as cardamom and oranges to market.

The construction of a bailey bridge was tendered out earlier this year. However, even after about eight months, there is no sign of work at the site.

Without a bridge, locals of Thangdokha and Ngatse still carry loads on their back although the chiwogs are connected with farm roads

Besides, there is no plan to construct even a temporary bridge this time, as local leaders will leave office at the end of this month and the entire gewog budget has already been allocated.

The farm road to the village is covered in dense undergrowth.

According to Puchene tshogpa, Migma Dawa, the plan to construct a bailey bridge was included in the 2020-2021 plan but the contractor did not start work on the bridge. “There has been no progress at all.”

The construction was to be completed in six months.

While the chiwogs can be connected to Haa and Samtse, he said it remained one of the most remote chiwogs without a bridge. “It is difficult for the people to stock up on food and essentials before summer.”

There are more than 70 households in the two chiwogs.

Had it not been for the pandemic, the locals would have sold their produce in Dorokha, which is a day’s journey away. It takes two days to reach Haa.

Wang Tshering from Puchena said that the locals need a temporary bridge around this time to take their produce to market before Tergola freezes. People have to walk about four hours to reach Ngatse, and around seven hours to reach Thangdokha from Puchena road point. “It is disappointing to see how some lapses deprive the locals of economic opportunities.”

Rinzin from Ngatse said there is a need for a permanent bridge connecting the village, adding that every year, a temporary bridge is built, as its predecessor gets washed away during the monsoon.

He added that life has become difficult for the locals, as they have to undergo quarantine when travelling to Samtse, and they have to cross Tergola, which remained covered with snow while transporting their produce and procuring rations.

Gakiling Gup Gashey said that materials were procured and the contractor had built a retention wall, but the work was left incomplete due to the monsoon. There has not been any progress since.

“The gewog has spent a significant amount on the temporary bridge. Having a bailey bridge soon would be of immense benefit,” he said.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk