As motorable roads penetrate into the villages, the use of mules and horses in transporting goods has declined.

But the old means of transportation is still being used in Samdrupjongkhar for the construction of 132KB transmission line between Motanga and Nganglam.

About 50 horses and mules are involved every day to ferry sand, cement and stone chips to the site.

The materials are being carried from the place called Aat Kilo (eight kilometres from Samdrupjongkhar towards Dewathang) to the project site, which is two hours’ uphill journey from the road point.

The porters and horses make two trips a day.

It’s been two months the transporters have been undertaking the job. Each horse earns around nine hundred ngultrums a day.

There are seven groups of potters, who own horses numbering from four to 15.

Jamtsho, 27, from Haa, owns the highest number of 15 horses.

His mules and horses toil from early morning to late evening with the backload to fetch him around Nu 28,000 a day.

“Though it’s tough, they are still useful and rewarding for the farmer like us,” he said. During the orange season, he goes to the bordering Samtse district to ferry oranges.

Meanwhile, this is not only the group of mules and horses deployed at the construction site.

According to BPC officials, another herd of 70 horses were being deployed in Nganglam.

The construction work commenced in June 2015, and the transmission line that starts from Motanga to Nganlam stretches for 34 kilometres requiring a construction of 93 transmission towers in total.

BPC’s superintending engineer, who is in charge of the project, said the majority of the transmission towers pass through the jungle, which is inaccessible by vehicle.

The shortest distance to the construction site is 500 meters while the farthest is around four hours walk from the motorable road.

“The transportation by animals and people is mandatory due to the terrain,’’ he said. “Even water required at the construction site is ferried by the horse from the valley below to the hilltop, while other construction materials like metals are carried by people.”

Tshering Namgyal | Samdrupjongkhar