The people of Dorona were full of excitement when the gewog received a power tiller three days back. But their excitement soon turned into disappointment.

While people are still struggling with oxen to plough their fields, the power tiller provided by the government lies idle in the gewog centre.

This is because farmers found that the power tiller cannot be used in their paddy fields.

Dorona gewog located at an elevation between 200m to 2700m above sea level has mostly steep terrain. Only two chiwogs of Mangmethang and Nimtola cultivates paddy.  The remaining chiwogs buy rations from the market and cultivate maize for their staple diet.

It was just last week that one of the farmers from Nimtola, Sonam hired the power tiller to till his land to sow maize. With much difficulty it was brought to his land but soon after he encountered problems. The power tiller toppled thrice on his fields which are located on steep slopes. He was able to till only a small area of his fields.

“This power tiller can’t be used in our fields, a smaller power tiller would be easier to use on steep terrain,” he said. While he could not make use of the service, he still paid the hiring charges.

Another farmer Pema said that the people appreciate the government for attempting to make the lives of rural people easier by mechanising farming but the practicality aspect also has to be considered. “If the government is really concerned about the public, gewogs having steep terrain should be provided with mini power tillers,” he said.

Otherwise the government’s investment on improving the standard of living of rural communities will be wasted if facilities such as power tillers cannot be used, he added.  Pema pointed out that if the government isn’t able to provide mini power tillers, gewogs that have steep terrain should be allowed to exchange their large power tillers with mini ones provided to gewogs located in the plains.

“The power tiller has become a necessity and is a noble initiative by the government but seeing it remain idle is disappointing,” he added.

However, the power tiller was used to transport firewood at least once.

The issue was also raised during agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji’s visit to the gewog recently. People are hopeful that their request for a mini power tiller will be noted.

Meanwhile, the gewog’s agriculture extension officer, Indra Bahadur Raika, said that requisition for a mini power tiller has been put up to the dzongkhag recently.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang