Connectivity: The people of Menchari in Orong, Samdrupjongkhar, who have been waiting for a farm road to connect their village for years, could finally have one.

The Samdrupjongkhar Initiative (SJI), a civil society organisation based in Dewathang, told villagers that they had proposed to the agriculture ministry to support the construction of a 3.3km farm road from the village to the nearest road by providing machinery. SJI will obtain financial assistance acquired through the Bhutan Foundation, from TomKat, a donor funding agency in the USA.

The communities will provide the labour.

Construction of the road is slated to begin next month.

Menchari village is located a two-hour walk from the Orong gewog centre.

Villagers have to walk for an hour up a steep hill to get to the nearest road, the Samdrupjongkhar-Trashigang highway.

SJI’s project coordinator, Sonam Tshering, said the village is not developed and the community is neglected.

He said road connectivity is aimed at improving the livelihood of farmers by enhancing economic activities and encouraging farmers to engage in farming activities.

He said the road is expected to benefit the village vegetable group to market organically grown vegetables.

The villagers of Menchari have in the past requested the local government and parliamentarians to provide them with a farm road but it never materialised.

“Finally we are told that we will have a road,” a villager said.

Villagers said the road is important, especially during emergencies like to visit the hospital at night and for transportation of construction materials.

A villager, Tshewang Rinzin, who is the former chupen (village representative) said villagers do not sell their farm produce because it is tedious to carry uphill. “The farm road will benefit us. It will help us to transport our vegetables to the nearest market.”

The village has 23 households. There are about 100 people residing in a scattered settlement.

Meanwhile, an Orong gewog official said there is no plan for a farm road to Menchari in the 11th Plan but they intend to construct one from the village to the gewog centre in the 12th Plan.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Orong