Dungkarling, the biggest producer of khamtey rice in Phuntshothang, is choking in dust

Road: Every time a vehicle passes through Dungkarling village in Phuntshothang, Samdrupjongkhar, the 70 households on both sides of the road are greeted with a fog of dust.  It is worse in winter.

It is now school time after a long break and parents are worried. Dust causes health problems. Houses are covered in thick layers of dust. This is a serious problem.

The road, which is expected to be the highway connecting Samdrupcholing and Jomotsangkha, passes through Dungkarling. It was constructed four years ago and has reached only until Samrang.

Villager elders say that dust, too much dust, is giving them breathing problem. Pema, a 72-year-old farmer had breathing problem. Dust is making his problem worse. For the good part of the day he remains inside.

“Something should be done to this road so that there is less dust. It gets everywhere, even in the food we eat,” said Pema.

Sherab Wangchuk, 60, a farmer, said either the road must be blacktopped or seek some other solutions to stop the dusts. Recklessly driving and speeding add to the problem.

“Even if the entire stretch of road cannot be blacktopped, it would be really helpful if the gewog office could help blacktop stretch from the village to the school,” said Sherab. “Dust hit the houses above the road in the morning and, in the evening, it shifts to the houses below the road.”

Samten Dema, a villager, said that it helps when there is heavy rain in the village because that helps contain the dust for a few days.

“We can’t even open the windows because of too much dust. The movement of vehicles has increased over the years and it poses risks to pedestrians,” said Samten Dema.

Villagers are happy that at least the dust is not affecting their paddy fields. Fields are located far from the road. Dungkarling is the biggest producer of khamtey rice in the gewog.

Tshogpa Tsechu said that people of the village reported the issue to the Prime Minister during his visit to Phuntshothang last year.

“There is an urgent need to solve the problem of dust in the village. There will be some support from the government soon, we hope,” Tshogpa Tsechu.

Gup Sangay said that the gewog office is not in the position to do anything because of the lack of budget. Also, the road belongs to the Department of Roads, he added.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupcholing