Agriculture: The country’s largest irrigation system in Taklai, Sarpang that would irrigate over 3,000 acres of paddy land and benefit 398 households of Chuzargang and Serzhong gewogs was inaugurated yesterday.

This would make possible to harvest paddy twice a year and also foster cultivation of winter vegetables.

With the completion of works in March, the irrigation channel was formally handed over to the government by the Japanese government, yesterday. The irrigation channel was inaugurated by the agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji and Counsellor of Japanese Embassy in New Delhi, Yamakoshi Tsohihiro.

The Japanese funded project with a cost of 1.51B Japanese Yen was aimed to rehabilitate Taklai irrigation System, which was completely damaged by a major flash flood in 2004 and again in 2010. Taklai irrigation channel was first commissioned in 1988.

The project’s chief engineer, Karma Tshethar said Taklai river, the source of the irrigation system is prone to flash floods during the monsoon. A press release from the Japanese embassy in New Delhi stated that the grant aid to rehabilitate the irrigation system would improve intake condition and efficiency of irrigation water.

“The government of Japan has placed agriculture at the centre of its assistance for Bhutan and supported Bhutan’s agricultural development in such areas as mechanization, horticulture and irrigation,” the press release stated.

The agriculture minister, Yeshey Dorji said, the community has to take good care of the irrigation system and undertake timely maintenance.

Sarpang dzongdag, Dawala said that the gewog has formed a water committee to oversee the irrigation system. “We are soon going to provide the members with relevant trainings and manuals,” he said.

The system consists of two main channels with a large network of tertiary and secondary channels. One Channel is 6.20 km in length and the other, 3.1 km.

The project was commissioned in October 2013 and completed before the schedule of June 2015.

“I hope that the rehabilitation of the irrigation system would enhance food security of Bhutan, reduce poverty and further develop the relations and cooperation between the two countries,” Yamakoshi Tsohihiro said.

The project was designed and constructed by Dai Nippon construction company.

By Yeshey Dema, Gelephu