Our highlanders need more than just our sympathy and munificence. They need our true attention.

This paper’s May 10 editorial brought highlanders’ challenges to the fore. As much as we want them to stay where they are, we need to take modern facilities to their doorstep. That’s the real challenge we are facing today.

But, really, it’s a small challenge. In an age of increased mobility, service delivery should not be a problem. Yet it is. What ought we to read from this?

We have made efforts towards decentralisation of power; it’s been sometime now. But centralised development is still our challenge that is encouraging rural to urban migration in large scale. As an agrarian country, googtong should not be our problem. Yet it is. What must we understand from this fact?

Our highlanders are our future, in sense more than one. If we understood that, our highlanders today would not be so vulnerable that they should wait in rice distribution queue.

We now know the government has made efforts to distribute 5,400kgs of rice stock to 149 households in Laya, 23,275kgs of rice stock for 389 households in Sakteng, and 2,000kgs of rice stock for 155 households in Lunana. While such initiatives are laudable, we do not see the long-term sustainability of the effort.

This demands a clear-cut approach from the government. Our people high up in the mountains need more than our largesse and occasional help. Our development plans cannot leave some of our own on the fringes. We can do more than what have done so far.

Dispensation of any kind is good. We need to put things in the right perspective. How could we not encourage our people to grow crops that can fight and flourish in harsh mountain conditions? We could take roads to the distant communities, but we must have services along the way. That’s real people-centric development.

We are taking about sovereignty and the future of this our homeland we call Drukyul.