To make sure that there is no overlapping projects in the 12th five year Plan, gewogs in Tsirang are busy conducting meetings to discuss allocation of one of the most important budgets gewogs receive, the Gewog Development Grant (GDG).

Local leaders consider GDG an important budget that the gewogs have been receiving annually for the last four years.

Patshaling gewog conducted the meeting on July 26. Each of the five chiwogs has at least two projects, such as construction of vegetable sheds along the Tsirang-Sarpang highway, construction of meeting hall in respective chiwogs, consecration of a lhakhang and clearing farm roads. One project each was approved to be funded by the GDG. Among others, the most important project the GDG has funded is the Patshaling-maed-Tsakaling farm road.

Tsakaling village is the furthest and one of the most remote under Patsaling gewog. There are at least 35 households in the village, 22 of which are resettled (zhisar).

When the current Five-Year-Plan was drawn, the gewog administration made sure that they included a proposal for farm road construction in the village. Although the plan was not approved, the need for a farm road was recognised, so the gewog decided to divert the financial year 2015-16 GDG towards constructing the road.

With additional funds from the GDG, the farm road is under construction. This year, the farm road construction got Nu 0.35M from the GDG.

Gup Chabi Kumar Rai said projects such as this, which are critical for the gewog but does not get approved for the five-year plans, are supported by GDG.

“GDG is a critical budget for gewogs to achieve work not included in the plan,” he said.

GDG has helped achieve similar important activities in Mendrelgang gewog. In the last financial year, at least five kilometre farm road connecting two chiwogs to the gewog center were cleared with GDG grant. At a cost of Nu 2M, the gewog also provided rural water supply to people of four chiwogs.

“GDG covers any unplanned activities in the gewog,” Mendrelgang gup Yeshi said.

In Rangthaling gewog, GDG funded construction of a Large concrete water tank at a cost of Nu 50,000 last year. With additional fund of Nu 50,000, pipes will be bought to supply the water to at least 20 households in Nimazor.

Additionally, the four-kilometre farm road connecting Sunkosh village was proposed in the 10th Plan but could not be achieved. It was again included in the current Plan but because of up gradation of the road from a feeder to farm road, the cost estimate could not cover the construction.

The gewog diverted Nu 0.15M from the 2016-2017 GDG and did the first cutting.  With additional Nu 0.25M from this year’s GDG, walls at erosion prone areas will be constructed and some Hume pipes will be installed.

Local leaders in Tsirang say that without GDG certain plans that arise in the middle of a plan period may not be achieved.

Rangthaling Gup Bal Bahadur Tamang said that although GDG is a complicated and controversial fund, it is an important for development in the gewogs.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang