Tshering Namgyal | Mongar
The Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) revised the guideline for roads, which will now allow construction of temporary sheds for farmers to sell farm produces within three metres of the road.
According to officials from the Department of Roads (DoR), the ministry revised the guideline after meeting with the stakeholders in the interest of the public.
Farmers will now be allowed to construct the sheds, but will have to follow the design dzongkhags provide.
It was learnt that farmers, who sustained on selling farm produces from the temporary sheds, requested the minister for MoWHS.
The new guideline made many farmers in Mongar happy.
Farmer Tshering Yangdon in Thridangbi said she raises her children from the income she generated from selling vegetables from a shed near the road.
“With no proper market, we have no option than to sell our products from the road point, but we had to live in constant fear,” she said. “Finally our prayers are heard and we are grateful to the government for the timely support.”
Her family sold produces from a small makeshift shed more than 50ms below their house on the Mongar-Bumthang highway in Thrindangbi.
Without other sources of income, they have been living on the income earned from the farm produce displayed and sold to the passengers from the shed.
Tshering Yangdon was a pioneer from the community, who got opportunity to take part in banana and potato chips making training in Mongar in early 2000.
Her husband, Rinzin Wangdi, was also one of the first farmers to get training in power tiller mechanisation.
The couple sold banana chips, flattened maize (Tengma), kharang, flour, roasted corn, cornflakes, vegetables and fruits, and dairy products.
They said it was difficult and challenging after the dzongkhag administration forced them to dismantle their shed because of the road guideline which did not allow structures within 50 feet from the road.
They said that they made several pleas to the dzongkhag and regional DoR office in Lingmethang.
“Selling things from home was tough and the family income dropped drastically,” Rinzin Wangdi said. “Customers prefer easy accessibility as they are in hurry or plying in others’ vehicles or in passenger buses.”
The old guideline also affected another roadside vendor, Pema Tshomo, who sold farm products from the makeshift shed along the highway above her house for more than fifteen years and raised her six children.
She said dzongkhag dismantled her sheds with the construction cost estimated at more than Nu 200,000 in total three times. “It was a nightmare and when the last one was dismantled, I had sleepless nights for three days wondering what to do.”
Pema Tshomo is happy with the new guideline.
So far, five vendors constructed new temporary sheds. About 25 farmers, who sell their farm produce on the highway that stretches from Menchugang to Yongkola are thrilled with the new guideline. They said they will construct their sale counters soon.
Individual households earn about Nu 100,000 to 200,000 annually from selling the farm produces on this east-west highway.
A farmer, Thinley, said they hope the guideline would not change so that they are not affected after constructing the shed.