Choki Wangmo | Tsirang
With the newly maintained reservoir tank damaged in Bhulkhey, some residents of Nyizergang and Tashiyangjong chiwogs in Kilkhorthang and gewog officials are at loggerheads.
While residents blame the gewog for failing to monitor the repair works, gewog claims only few people are disgruntled and complaining because of political differences.
First built in 2000, the reservoir was maintained in 2020 by the community members but before it was handed over to the communities, beneficiaries said that cracks developed and water leaked from the tank.
The community members also face drinking water shortage because of improper distribution.
A resident from Tashiyangjong alleged that although the chiwog representative reported the issue to the gewog administration in May 2021, officials did not take any action stating that the gewog did not have budget. “Then the local government leaders completed their tenure. Now they want villagers who did not contribute labour during the repair works to pay for minor maintenance.”
Another said that it was unfair as community members were held accountable for the damage at the tank while the gewog failed their duties to follow up on the project.
The gewog administration officials along with the technician for the Rural Water Supply Scheme (RWSS) visited the site in August 2021.
The project supervisor said that although there was water shortage during dry seasons, community members were scared to speak about the issue. “When there is shortage, everyone complains to me.”
Some said that there was no water shortage during monsoon.
According to the minutes of the meeting conducted during the interim local government, the gewog would repair the tank in the 2022-2023 financial year as there was limited budget in the RWSS in 2021-2022.
It stated that although the technician handed over the construction materials to the tshogpa and the field supervisor, the supervisor couldn’t submit the project completion report due to miscommunication between the field supervisor and the technician. “Neither the gewog nor the technician could follow up as it was the peak of Covid-19 situation.”
Kilkhorthang gup Beda Moni Chamlagai said that the reservoir tank was constructed by the beneficiaries themselves. “If the majority of beneficiaries complain, the gewog is at fault.”
At the site, the 4,000-litre reservoir tank was found leaking from the base with most of the materials coming off. The water tank was empty and water flows directly from a storage tank to pipelines.
There are 21 beneficiaries of the project but the field supervisor said that there was no record of the absentees. “Some of them refused to cooperate or pay for the repair. They don’t want to pay as it is a temporary measure. When the monsoon starts, works would be difficult too.”
He said that the beneficiaries earlier worked on the maintenance for 30 days with labour and sand contribution. The gewog provided cement and pipes.