Haa on track

 The need for vegetable cooperatives was raised to prevent over supply, as is the case with tomatoes flooding the market

MTR: Harsh weather, a small population and lack of engineers are the major hurdles in carrying out developmental activities in Haa.

While the two gewogs of Sombaykha and Gakiling have favorable climate, these two gewogs are remotest. The remoteness and distance from health facilities caused two incidences of under-five mortality and one incidence of infant mortality in the two gewogs.

Although the dzongkhag is confronted with such issues, Haa has achieved 17 of the 39 key performance indicators (KPI) set for 11th Plan. The dzongkhag has 20 KPI on track and two at risk.

Consequently, the dzongkhag’s municipality is not likely to get a sewerage network in the current Plan.

Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said the dzongkhag, till date has no local area plan (LAP), without which works for a sewerage network is not possible. He proposed that works for a LAP such as drawings and maps to be pursued in the current Plan and implementation in the next.

Wheat production in the dzongkhag in the last two years was just 648 metric tonnes (MT) against a target of 1,118MT. This, the dzongdag said was because Haa has 450 acres of cultivatable land and the yield per acre was 732kg.

The prime minister however said that Haa has produced over 1,000MT of wheat in the past and that this deserves the attention of the agriculture ministry.

As for other crops like barley, cardamom, apple and vegetables, the dzongkhag has achieved most of its targets.

On milk production, Lyonchoen was astounded that Haa produced more milk than larger dzongkhags. Haa produced 1,896MT of milk against a target of 1,255MT. The dzongkhag has also produced about 53,000 eggs more than its target.

However, a former tshogpa, Passang said cooperatives for vegetable production is also crucial to avoid excessive supplies. For instance, he said farmers cultivated tomatoes in most villages and as a result the vegetable market is flooded with tomatoes. He added supply of varieties of vegetable is important for food sufficiency within the dzongkhags.

The prime minister instructed the dzongdag to study the feasibility of vegetable cooperatives.

The gewog centre roads in Sombaykha and Gakiling are also on track.

While 53 households in Haa are not connected to the electricity grid, mobile coverage in Haa still remains at 95 percent. Saktena village and the highlands are deprived of both.

About eight activities amounting to Nu 39M has been dropped from the Plan budget because the dzongkhag was not able to secure funding from other sources.

A fund of Nu 15M for the construction of a 20-bedded hospital at Bemporama has been dropped. The funding will now come from the central government after relocation.

It was proposed that the fund from the dropped activities be used for the construction of a farm road from Gakiling dungkhag to Bebji, Sombayama to Nakha, and Putsena to Rangtse.

Construction of a visitors centre to promote tourism in Haa was also proposed.

The prime minster said it was important to study the number of tourist arrivals in Haa. “Most tourists do not spent the night in Haa and this will not benefit the people,” he said.

However, Haa has received only Nu 135.8M of budget against the outlay of Nu 489.6M. The dzongkhag has spent Nu 112.4M in the last two fiscal years of the Plan.

Lyonchoen said that the dzongkhag will receive 64 percent of the outlay in the coming fiscal year, taking the total fund disbursed to Nu 313M.

He informed that the dzongkhag has Nu 1,186M worth of deposit works to be implemented by other organisations, including the widening of the Damchu-Haa highway by DANTAK, with GoI assistance.

The Gewog Development Grant (GDG) of Nu 2M each gewog a year, according to gups is most beneficial. Haa has implemented 47 projects and would start 35 more projects from the GDG. The major activity of the GDG includes road construction.

The BOiC has also approved 62 projects from Haa and Lyonchoen reminded the people to come forth for more projects since 45 projects were from Eusu gewog.

The government has foregone Nu 24M from the free rural electricity in Haa and Nu 4.5M from rural business tax exemption.

Tshering Dorji, Haa

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