Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

The Jitti lift irrigation channel at Singeygang in Tashichholing, Samtse, which has remained idle since the completion of its construction three years ago, could finally come to life.

The irrigation channel is undergoing maintenance. When the work is completed, it will benefit more than 100 households of Singeygang and Namgaychholing. The channel was constructed mainly for supplying water during winter for vegetables and areca nut trees. Without the channel, farmers did not have other options.

For paddy, Singeygang people relied on rainwater.

The channel was constructed in 2017 to supply water to 200 acres of paddy fields. About Nu 20 million (M) had been spent on the project.

The lift irrigation system pumps water from Jitti river using electricity. The water takes an uphill route to Singeygang. The channel was not used, as it was expensive.

A Singeygang resident said government is providing materials such as cement and rod and labourers.

“People from the community are also contributing labour,” he said.

Tashichholing gup Samir Giri said the channel is being widened at present.

“The motor has also rusted,” gup said, explaining a new motor would be installed.

Gup Samir Giri also said expenses on electricity bills for pumping water would be around Nu 5,000 to Nu 6,000 per month with the improvement of the channel and replacement of the motor. Earlier, electricity bills were estimated at Nu 1,500 per hour. This was found during a trial farmers carried out after the construction.

The government has also provided Nu 350,000 for electricity bills at the moment. However, how will they use it has not been decided.

The irrigation committee’s chairman KN Sharma said they will come to a conclusion on the expenses only after the channel is repaired and used.

“The work has just started and it is only four days. It will take two months,” he said.

Meanwhile, the lift irrigation system was implemented by the agriculture department and then handed over to the Singeygang people. The gewog and the beneficiaries were taught how to operate the system.