The Jitti lift irrigation at Singeygang in Tashichholing Samtse, which was developed to supply water for about 200 acres of land, has not benefited farmers as expected.

It was constructed in 2017 and Nu 20 million was spent for the project.

The lift irrigation system pumps water from Jitti river using power and supplies water to Singeygang from a uphill route. However, the irrigation channel has not been used, not  even once.

The people of Singeygang told Kuensel the system was expensive. Singeygang residents say that the power bills come to about Nu 9,000 per hour if the system is used fully.

KN Sharma, a villager, said: “The system is so expensive people have not the capacity to pay.”

Distribution lines are yet to be installed.

In hope of water supply in winter, some farmers also had let the project to use lands for the distribution of the channels.

Jas Maya Mongar said that she uprooted several areca nut trees to let the project use the land for channel.

“We were hoping the irrigation channel would solve many problems,” she said. “I have eight acres of land now left fallow.”

Tashichholing gup, Samir Giri, said that the irrigation channel had become a white elephant.

“It is functional and can be used,” he said. “There has to be a proper mechanism.”

The gup said that the channel was used just once during the trial.

According to an agricultural official in Samtse, the irrigation system was implemented directly by the department of agriculture.

The chief with the engineering division under the department of agriculture said that the irrigation channel was constructed and handed over to the people of Singeygang as per the villagers’ request.

“We also taught the gewog and the beneficiaries how to operate the system,” the chief said, adding that the payment of bills was the beneficiaries’ responsibility.

Rajesh Rai | Sipsu