The Wangchhu river (Raidak) over Lamchey’s paddy fields

Lamchey, a village under the river

Lamchey was once a chiwog like any other in Dagana with fertile land. Today, though, most of it is under river Wangchhu.

The old farm road to Lamchey still exists. There are electric poles along this road that connects power to other areas in Lhamoizingkha. The Manitar-Lhamoizingkha highway is just five-minute’s drive away.

Lamchey wears a deserted look.

Aita Singh Subba, 75, is one of the oldest residents of Lamchey has resettled in another place.

“My land was washed away by the river,” he said. “Today, I can’t even recognise where my land was.”

Aita Singh Subba said he was among the lucky few to receive land Kidu. Lamchey is, he said, an example of the river eating into private land. As the Wangchhu eventually ate into the people’s lands, nobody wanted to settle there.

About 18 households from Lamchey are also expecting land replacement in Devitar, another village in Lhamooizingkha.

Kaluram Gurung is one of them.

“My land was washed away by the river,” said Kaluram Gurung.

It was not only Wangchhu that eroded private land in Lamchey. A stream called Romphu that swelled in summer and dried in the winter too causes myriad problems for the residents.

Today there are only about five households in Lamchey whose land is unaffected by the river. Replacement is not an option for them.

JB Tamang has more than nine acres of land at Lamchey. He lives in Sipsuni today.

“I bought the land in another village to facilitate education of my children,” he said. “Today, I am living here.”

Although JB Tamang wants to go back to his land in Lamchey someday, he is well aware of the difficulties.

“There are wild animals,” JB Tamang said. Human-wildlife conflict is a major problem.

“One time it was the wild boars that demotivated the resettlement aspirants and the elephants the other time,” he said.

Lhamoizingkha Gup Surja Limbu said resettlement for the households whose land is not eroded by the river could be difficult.

Rajesh Rai | Lhamoizingkha

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