Choki Wangmo | Dagana
Here, in the three gewogs of Lhamoidzingkha, Dagana monsoon brings more than just rain. It brings fear and uncertainties.
Cut off for more than 20 days and threats still looming, locals await anxiously.
“The season has just started and rains have been very heavy this time. We don’t know what to expect,” said a Nichula gewog resident.
According to the residents, they have been cut off for the longest time in years.
Roadblocks along Dagapela- Dalbari secondary national highway still could not be cleared. The block at Sonam Ja and Kelzari along Gedu-Lhamoidzingkha was cleared a few days ago.
While residents from other chiwogs can walk to Lhamoidzingkha town for essential items when it does not rain, farmers are left without fuels to operate their power tillers. “It is paddy cultivation season,” one said.
With mobility cut off, residents of these three gewogs are grappling with fuel and LPG shortage.
“We had a diesel shortage for two days as fuel tankers couldn’t cross the Kalikhola river. The vehicles returned to Phuentsholing,” said Nichula Gup Nima Wangchuk Sherpa.
There were reportedly seven blocks within the gewog. A few days ago, locals from three chiwogs—Damchuna, Dramzekesa, and Yarphelling—came together to clear minor landslides, dug the drains and cut grasses along the footpath and farm road.
Local government leaders said that due to fuel shortage, excavators couldn’t be deployed at the block sites.
Erratic power supply added to the problem for a region that is already fighting extreme heat, humidity, insects, and wild animals. Internet connection was cut off for the past two weeks as the fiber pole was washed away by the landslides.
Omchhu and Laptsakha chiwogs in Karmaling gewog were badly affected by the heavy rain on June 18. The residents of these chiwogs are 48km and 38km away from Lhamoidzingkha town.
Farmers are struggling to bring in Karma Feeds for their pig and poultry farms. “We need a huge number of feeds for big farms. It is difficult to transport it on our backs,” a resident said.
A resident, Sancha Raj Subba, said that if the authorities start the clearing works immediately, it would take just three days.
The token system at the depot, he said, allowed each vehicle only five litres of fuel.
Except for a conflict with an elephant that injured a man recently, there were no major health emergencies in any of the gewogs. The 53-year-old-man was transported on an excavator across Kalikhola river.
“If there are health emergencies, we would be helpless,” another resident said, adding that locals asked for a Basic Health Unit for the gewog but to no avail.
The drungkhag, meanwhile, has arranged an escort system on Wednesdays and Saturdays to transport essential items from Phuentsholing.
“Vendors and shopkeepers can bring vegetables and other essentials from Phuentsholing via India,” Nima Wangchuk Sherpa said.