In a handing-taking ceremony, agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji handed over an excavator and a backhoe each to the 20 dzongdags in Bumthang yesterday.

Thanking the Government and people of Japan for the machinery, Lyonchhen said that it would go a long way towards developing rural villages.

Lyonchhen said that the machinery will empower the local government to build and maintain farm roads apart from being able to use them to respond during disasters, help framers develop farm lands, and build and maintain irrigation channels, among others.

Lyonchhen also urged the dzongdags to ensure proper and regular maintenance of the machinery and said that a term of use for the machines will be provided so that the machines are put to good use.

A trained operator each would be deployed to the dzongkhangs to operate the machines.

Japan’s Ambassador to Bhutan Kenji Hiramatsu handed over 30 excavators, 20 Backhoes, and other equipment worth USD 6.948 million (M) to the agriculture minister in Bumthang on August 7.

With the help of the new fleet of machinery, the ministry expects to construct 457kms of farm roads by next June which could comfortably meet the 11th Plan target.

By the end of the 11th Plan, the country will have about 8,400kms of farm roads with 3,191kms being covered with support from machinery granted by the Government of Japan.

Staff reporter