Kelzang Wangchuk | Jomotshangkha

As the swollen Jangsa river rolls down with heavy debris at this time of the year, the Jangsa village at Langchenphu gewog in Jomotshangkha drungkhag, Samdrupjongkhar, vibrates. 

The villagers have sleepless nights and resort to going to the neighbours’ houses in a safer places. Some of the villagers have stopped cultivating in the land near the river.

A villager, Sita Ghimirey, 32, said that the swollen river washed away about an acre of land before and it has been removed from the old lag thram without any compensation.

She said she had planned to plant doma trees on an acre of land near the river, but could not because the swollen river washed away some portion of her land. She has about 5.5 acres of land.

 “Since my house is just a few metres away from the river, my family and I went to the neighbours’ house. We could feel the vibration of the swollen river,” Sita Ghimirey  

Another villager, Ram Chandra Nepal, 35, said the protection wall along the river that the gewog administration built about five years ago was helpful as the swollen river did not wash away their land.

He said that the villagers reported to the chiwog tshogpa for the need for a river embankment because there is a risk of farmlands getting washed away. “But there is nothing from the gewog so far and the protection wall constructed by the gewog is also damaged.” 

The villagers said the swollen river washed away about 15 acres of State land in the past. The river swells until September. People have had to shift electric fencing two times because of floods. 

 They said the river has been eroding their land every summer and the river swells suddenly even if there is no rain.

“It would help if the gewog could construct the protection wall along the river,” a villager said.   

 The Langchenphu Gup, Guman Singh Gaylal, said that since the swollen river washed away the land, the gewog constructed about 800 metres of river embankment in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

 He said that the gewog administration carries out the dragging work whenever it is required but is not that effective to protect the land from getting washed away. 

He said there is a need for about 100 metres of river embankment but the gewog has no budget, adding that the gewog wrote to the dzongkhag disaster management (DDM) committee.

“The committee has endorsed it and submitted it to the department of disaster in Thimphu. We will propose the budget for the river embankment through DDM again,” the gup said.