Seven years ago, almost, Bala Ram Katel harvested almost 800kg rice from his 72-decimal paddy field in Pelrithang village, Gelephu. There is today not a single sign of terraces.

His paddy field has turned into a riverbed.

During heavy rainfall, huge river runs through his land. Besides a few banana trees and bamboo plants, the field is full of sand and boulder. It is the Dhaula River that has changed its course and diverted toward private land.

Bala Ram Katel said after Dhaula River damaged his field a few years ago, he gave up paddy cultivation altogether because it was a waste of time. “I sowed fodder grass but that is also all under sand. This land used to give food rice yield.”

He had a total of 1.26 acres land here, which has now turned to a riverbed.

Next to his house lives Chandra Lal Ghimeray, who is a sharecropper. Flashflood has partially damaged the paddy. “The damage is minimal right now, but some more heavy rain might cause more damage.” He is worried.

On the other side of Gelephu, Shershong gewog officials comprising Mangmi, tshogpa, agriculture extension officer and engineer toured villages for the whole day yesterday to access flashflood damage.

Mangmi Ugyen Tshering said that among all the damages, washing away of the drinking water source is a major one. The source, about two kilometers away from Shershong gewog centre has been completely washed away.

It was a water source that benefited the people of Norbuling and Chuzargang gewog.

“All the pipes have been washed away,” the Mangmi said. People are now requesting gewog centre for immediate supply of pipes to reconnect water supply.

The mangmi said that there wasn’t much the gewog could do immediately to restore the water supply. The gewog will submit its assessment report to the dzongkhag.

Flashflood also damaged some paddy fields in Barshong chiwog. The dzongkhag’s disaster focal person has directed all gewog officials to report damage in their respective gewog.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Gelephu