Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

Iron Female Ox Year-Tsirang and Dagana : As other dzongkhags reported an increasing number of positive cases and underwent subsequent lockdowns, Tsirang and Dagana dzongkhag remained green zones with zero positive cases.

However, the impact of lockdowns in other dzongkhags, particularly Thimphu and Phuentsholing, was felt strongly by the farmers of Dagana and Tsirang, who faced marketing issues and challenges in exporting their produce.

Ginger, cardamom, quinoa, and mandarin growers were worried about less export; some explored local markets for mandarin. Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited came to the rescue with the ginger buy-back scheme.

The farmers also faced issues with chilli production with delayed harvest due to prolonged monsoon and damaged seedlings.

Farmers in both the dzongkhags reported unidentified disease that affected chilli plants, leading to yellowing from the tip of the plants and gradual death.

Tsirang also reduced pork production. 

Some agri business owners in Tsirang explored new products such as Kiwi wine and jam. A local entrepreneur in Dagana ventured into the first spice production firm in Dagana to address market shortage challenges and reduce spice import in the country.

There were some interventions to help farmers sell local products. Vendors along Sunkosh highway received new sheds which were not only aesthetic but also comfortable.

However, the organic capital’s market was filled with imported fruits and vegetables and the local government leaders had asked the dzongkhag administration to control import of vegetables in the dzongkhag.

There were increasing number of rape cases in the dzongkhag with the district court handing out harsh sentence to culprits.

In Dagana, the number of contract farmers increased drastically with the support of Bhutan Livestock Development Corporation Limited. But the onion growers who took up large-scale onion cultivation to address the shortage in the country suffered losses without proper market facilitation.

As human-wildlife conflict continues to ravage Lhamoidzingkha, residents along with the support of developing partners explored agave plant cultivation to tackle the issue.

Shortage of irrigation and drinking water in both the dzongkhags led to dire consequences with some villagers migrating to other places.

This has led to local government candidates in both these dzongkhags promising adequate drinking and irrigation water supply at the centre of their pledges.

With the implementation of the seventh Desuung National Service water project in Kana in Dagana, more than 1,000 residents of two chiwogs of Khagochen-Dalithang and Pungshi are hoping for sufficient drinking water soon.

Works have also started to revive lakes to solve drinking and irrigation water issues in parts of Dagana.

Damphu Town saw its first swimming pool in 2021. Residents were excited but much needs to be done to facelift the facility, with provision of amenities. The town introduced a new parking system to reduce congestion, which was received well by the public.

Most of the ECCD centres remain closed in Tsirang without facilitators, while working parents struggle to provide proper childcare.

Dagana saw fixing of accountability in public service delivery with the dzongkhag administration penalising contractors compromising the construction quality but the only bus stop in Dagana town remains abandoned after the administration invested millions in construction.

Dagana town residents who travelled four hours back and forth to refuel their vehicles in Dagapela are finally relieved with the news about the construction of the first fuel depot in Tseza gewog.

Education sector and their service delivery in the dzongkhag was affected by shortage of principals. Nearly one in three Dagana schools are functioning without principals.

The pandemic has affected the dzongkhag’s tourism promotion plans. Lhamoidzingkha remained under lockdown most part of the year.

While there were talks of 5G in other towns, Dagana residents do not have a proper mobile network and there were problems with television connection as well. They remained cut off.

Almost 90 percent of former local government leaders in both the dzongkhag re-contested in the elections but Dagana chose new faces with only three members making through.  Tsirang re-elected former leaders.

Despite increased women participation in the elections, no women candidates from 26 gewogs in Tsirang and Dagana were elected for the gup’s position.