With the coming of electricity and a farm road, the villagers of Taksa return

Migration: After leaving his village in Taksa, Dangchu almost a decade ago, Dorji, 44, now plans to return home and become a farmer.

Dorji was once a yak-herder but he sold his yaks and migrated to the town of Nobding located on the Wangdue-Trongsa highway. The father of four migrated given the remoteness of his village and a lack of access to basic services and a market.

It took Dorji almost three days to walk to the nearest market when he lived in Taksa. Like Dorji, several other Taksa villagers gradually migrated to Nobding and other parts of Dangchu over the years. Eventually, Taksa was left only with the elderly.

However, Dorji now plans to return because Taksa is now connected with a farm road and will soon receive electricity as well.

“Back then life was hard in Taksa but it isn’t easier in Nobding with no land to work on,” said Dorji. “The only work we have is to collect cordyceps and do some minor odd jobs.”

Dangchu Gup Sonam Dorji said that with the majority of the people of Taksa migrating to the towns, there were concerns about the village eventually emptying out and being abandoned. So in 2013, the gewog requested the Bhutan Power Corporation Ltd (BPC) to connect the village with electricity.

A year later the request was approved and BPC included Taksa in their rural electrification scheme. The works to electrify the village started in October last year and is nearing completion. The village will soon have electricity, said Gup Sonam Dorji.

Feeling that only electricity may not be enough, the gewog tshogde also decided to connect the village with a farm road. With a gewog development grant of Nu 700,000 and an excavator provided by the government, a farm road of 10km was constructed, last year.

Since the budget was not enough, each villager also contributed around Nu 5,000, said Gup Sonam Dorji. The village has 19 registered households but there are some families that have not registered, which means there are more households.

Following the construction of the farm road, 12 villagers have already migrated back to Taksa, Gup Sonam Dorji said. Many are planning to take up agriculture farming and some have even purchased yaks, he added.

The gup said that villagers were dependent on yaks prior to 2004 until they were allowed to collect cordyceps. Later, all except for one, sold their yaks and migrated.

In Taksa, people can grow potato and radish, among others.

Life used to be hard without the basic necessities and services said another villager, Mani. Back then many wished to buy a small plot elsewhere and start a new life leaving behind their village. However, with road and electricity, he said they are hopeful to have a better life in Taksa.

Because of its remoteness, none of the villagers could sell off their land, which has today become a blessing in disguise allowing them to migrate back, said another villager who has resettled in Taksa.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue