For the people of Drukjyegang-Tseza constituency in Dagana, better road and water connectivity, including irrigation is the priority today.

People say it has been decades since developmental activities began in the country but the roads in Dagana remain in bad shape.

People cite the dzongkhag road, which is about 89km starting from Sunkosh junction until the dzongkhag administration in Dagana proper is worse than gewog centre roads in other parts of the country.

A villager, Jangchu, 75, said that although blacktopped, the dzongkhag highway is rough, bumpy and too narrow for two vehicles to cross and need immediate maintenance.

He said roads connecting gewog centres are also in similar condition. “If we can’t have better roads, other developmental activities are a far-fetched dream.”

Another villager, Tshewang, said that after road, it is drinking and irrigation water that Dagana people are looking forward to.

He said that about 18 households in Drukjyegang had to leave some 100-acres of paddy field barren because of irrigation water shortage this year.

Tshewang said that parties and candidates discuss many issues but water is what they need.

“For the government to achieve self-sufficiency, making people able to cultivate their land should be considered important,” he said. “At the moment we’ve no option but to leave our lands fallow and depend on imported rice. This will never make us self-sufficient.”

During the common forum campaign in Tsangkha gewog on October 3, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) candidate, Migma Dorji, said that among the many priorities in the agriculture sector, making drinking water and irrigation water available is one of their priorities.

He said during his familiarisation tours, he learnt that people were unable to cultivate land because of water shortage and that concerned him. “We’ve plenty of water, it’s just a matter of reaching it to our fields and homes.”

On the same issue Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) candidate, Jurmi Wangchuk, said achieving 100 percent drinking water and irrigation water connectivity is a priority for the party.

He urged voters to analyse the pledges and manifestos of the two parties carefully and decide whom to vote for. “Our pledges are mostly those that benefit the rural community.”

Jurmi Wangchuk said since Dagana has been categorised as the poorest dzongkhag, it is this election that will decide if the dzongkhag will prosper. “Five years will make a lot of difference but it will depend on who will form the government.”

Meanwhile, the common forum campaign in Dagana ends today in two gewogs of Largyab in Drukjyegang-Tseza constituency and Karmaling gewog in Tashiding-Lhamoi Dzingkha constituency.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Dagana