Although various technologies and schemes are explored to address irrigation channel issues, mobilisation of fund remains a challenge, agriculture minister Yeshey Penjor said at the meet-the-press session on December 21.

Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor said it becomes the responsibility of ministry to mobilise resources to implement various irrigation schemes and that is why the irrigation channels are one identified as one of the priority activities in the 12th Plan.

“For irrigation, we have to look at various technologies and all the technologies are expensive,” lyonpo said. “More than 100 irrigation schemes were planned in the 11th Plan, but only around 32 schemes were implemented and 11 activities are on-going.”

Lyonpo added that the agriculture ministry is still working on about 26 projects where designs and plan works have already started and that the ministry has to work on mobilising fund.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said the government has pledged a central water body and all water related issues including irrigation would be solved.

“Close to 100 percent water issue would be solved, which is our target and the central water body would cater to all the drinking water issues. We are planning big on this, so, we would like to pay lot of attention to solving water issues, which is one of the flagship activities.”

Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor said the government is also looking into various technologies on addressing human wildlife conflict, which is becoming a major concern.

“Human wildlife conflict was a major focus in the 11th Plan and many activities were taken up where many electric fencings were put in place to protect the crops,” lyonpo said. However, he said electric fencing has not served its purpose especially in the south where elephants ravage fields.

“But fortunately, for the wildlife conflict, apart from the government budget, we would be getting committed resources from Bhutan for Life to tackle the issue.”

Lyonchhen said that the government has already talked with the Bhutan for Life and WWF to support the government in addressing human wildlife conflict issues.

Yangchen C Rinzin