Except for one household in Merak gewog, at least one representative from each household was present during the Population and Housing Census of Bhutan that ended on June 1.
However, the members of the missing household were counted during the eve of the final day of the census.
After realising that the representative of the household cannot make it even during the final day of the census, an undertaking was signed by the Merak gup, Lama Rinchen, to provide the details of the family. This was done in consultation with the census head office in Thimphu, said Trashigang dzongdag, Chekey Gyeltshen.
“With that final count, everyone in Merak has been counted in the census,” said the dzongdag.
The people of Merak had gone to their brangsa (pastureland outside the locality) somewhere near Jomotshangkha in Samdrupjongkhar with their cattle. Local leaders said that none of the family members could be reached over the phone.
Merak mangmi, Phurpa, said that miscommunication among the people of the gewog led to the dispersion of the villagers. The herders who were on the move with their cattle thought that the census would be conducted everywhere, irrespective of their original village, including the brangsa, which is scattered over the highlands.
After identifying that some 45 households were locked during the two-day updating process conducted on May 28 and 29, local leaders were instructed to call the herders back to the village for the census.
Those who could be reached through phone were immediately called back. Messengers were sent to the brangsa. By the afternoon of the third day, everyone had returned.
Of the 18 enumerators and three supervisors deployed to Merak, one of them was assigned to Khiliphoog chiwog, the furthest chiwog under Merak gewog.
The lone enumerator could arrive in the gewog only towards the evening yesterday. It takes four days to reach Merak gewog from Khiliphoog.
One of the supervisors, Sangay Wangchuk, said that most of the enumerators had to work overtime because some of the household representatives were on their way back to the gewog. “Although there were not many issues, about five more enumerators would have eased the work,” he said. “It was difficult reaching the far-flung settlements of the gewog. But no one was left uncounted.”