Monsoon is not far away and like previous years, the residents of Jomotsangkha dungkhag are concerned about the Jomo ri (river) and Karpo ri.

Residents said measures should be in place to prevent the river from entering the town if it swells.

While the rivers completely dry up during the winters, come monsoon and residents spend sleepless nights worrying if the rivers will burst their banks. The town is surrounded by the Karpo ri on its west and the Jomo ri on its east.

The town has experienced several minor flash floods in the past. Many residents said that they fear for their lives with the monsoons getting more unpredictable.

Many said there is a need for flood protection walls to be built immediately. The issue was raised in different forums but nothing has happened, residents said.

Langchenphu gup, Gumu Singh Gaylal, raised the issue during the Dzongkhag Tshogdu held last month.

Gup Gumu Singh Gaylal said that despite the threat there is no separate budget available to construct the flood protection walls. He added that the Gewog Development Grant would not be enough.

The gup informed the tshogdu’s members that if the issue is not addressed at the earliest, a flood could cause extensive damage which would mean more costly repairs and mitigation measures.

“Even if there is no budget to build a permanent protection wall, we should at least come up with temporary measures,” he said.
Dungpa Lamdra Wangdi also shared the same concern. He said that the mitigation work could cost millions unless it is taken up as a separate project. He added that at present, building the walls looks impossible.

“There is a need for temporary measures soon,” he said. He added that the Department of Disaster Management has approved Nu 15 million for the Karpo Ri, and another Nu 20 million for another river, the Jangsa, for the construction of protection walls, however, the budget is yet to be released to the dzongkhag.

Owing to lack of budget and given the urgency of the situation, a proposal was prepared for the works and human settlement ministry for a flood protection wall. Dzongdag Tharchen Lhendup said given the geographical area of both the rivers, construction of the protection wall would not be simple, and that the proposal will be submitted to the ministry soon.

He added that the dzongkhag would closely work with the gewog and dungkhag to carry out immediate measures as soon as possible.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupjongkhar