The gup has countered that the allegations are based on personal grounds
Roads: A resident of Ula village in Rubesa gewog, Wangdue has alleged that the gewog’s gup is involved in corrupt practices and has purposefully halted the ongoing farm road construction to Ula.
Ugyen Dorji, who is currently studying in Australia, wrote to Kuensel alleging that the eight kilometre farm-road to Ula, which was started in 2011, is not yet complete despite about Nu 7M being spent.
“I have filed a complaint against the gup with Anti Corruption Commission and Wangdue dzongkhag audit,” said Ugyen Dorji.
He has alleged that the local people have contributed labour and that an excavator was brought from the Bumthang machinery centre for free. The fuel cost was the only expenditure the gewog had to bear. “We don’t know how and where did the money go and why the farm road is not progressing despite spending all those funds,” Ugyen said.
The gup purposely send the excavator to Jala when the Ula farm road is incomplete, Ugyen alleged. The villagers were made to contribute labor without any wages, while the gup did not contribute any labor.
“My worry is that the gup’s tenure will soon end, but the farm road will remain incomplete while the money received for the farm road will be nowhere seen,” said Ugyen Dorji. Without the farm road, villagers have to walk for hours to reach the nearest road point.
To this, Rubesa gup, Gyeltshen said this is not the first time he has faced allegations from Ugyen Dorji. He is staying outside the country and his claims were solely based on the information provided by a villager of Ula, Yeshela, which was not based on the actual situation, the gup said.
“Yeshela and Ugyen Dorji were not happy with me because of personal issues,” he said. “Ugyen Dorji tried to convince local people including the mangmi to speak against me but they refused, as they were aware about the ground reality.”
Gup Gyeltshen agreed that the farm road was started in 2011. However, he said they have completed with the first cutting of entire eight kilometre stretch till the village. But due to heavy rainfall and falling boulders the road was blocked on various stretches.
During the second phase, the gewog had to hire an excavator on an hourly basis, he said. The excavator from Bumthang was received only this year.
Every year the gewog is working to clear the blocks and improve the road but could not achieve this because of heavy rainfall, he said. Both the dzongkhag administration of Wangdue and local people of Ula were aware about the situation and difficulties faced with clearing the road, the gup said.
The farm road has cost more than Nu 6M and very recently the Punatsangchu Hydropower Project Authority released more than Nu 1M for this farm road to the dzongkhag, said gup Gyeltshen. However, he added that financial matters were directly routed through the dzongkhag and it is not possible for one person to take away millions.
“I can only wish if he could come to Ula and understand the situation on the ground,” said gup Gyeltshen. “Had I breached any rules, dzongkhag and local people would be the first to know.”
With regard to the machine, it was sent to Jala in August only after consulting with the people Ula who agreed in writing.” The people of Ula agreed to send the machine for the Jala farm road construction, as they could not carry fuel on their backs and there was no way for vehicles. During the consultation, except for two villagers, Dendup and Yesheyla, more than 17 of 23 households were present, he said.
Gup Gyeltshen said the gewog would resume the work by November 17. Currently the excavator is under minor maintenance.
Wangdue’s dzongkhag engineer, Lhapchu, said the farm road was started a long time back but because of rain and the difficult terrain, almost 100-150m stretch has slid.
“All the financial tractions for the farm road is being routed through the gewog account section based in the dzongkhag administration,” he said.
Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue