Lhakpa Quendren | Panbang 

The archery range in Panbang along Bjoka Gewog Centre road has become a major concern for Panbang residents and commuters. 

Ever since the archery range near Panbang Bridge, about half a kilometer from Panbang town, started some five years ago, stray arrows have been landing outside the range. 

Residents expressed concerns over the safety of the archery range. They shared a few incidents of arrows far from the archery range, posing dangers to the residents who live nearby. 

A resident said that there were a few incidents of stray arrows accidentally released into the sub-division office of the Agriculture Research Development Centre’s garden and the Dasho Nishioka suspension bridge.

“There is a risk of archers losing control and hitting the commuters and visitors including tourists who visit Dasho Nishioka suspension bridge,” he said.

He said that while the national game should be encouraged, the range should be built at a safer location after consultation with the local residents. “Mishaps could be more dangerous if safety measures are not taken.”

“Archers play on compound bows, which is more dangerous,” he said, adding that civil servants use the range most of the time.

Another resident claimed that while a huge budget has been spent on building the archery range to benefit a few players, the town development has suffered from a lack of investment. 

“Installation of lighting system costing Nu 280,000 at the archery range is underway and the works are being done by officials of Panbang. But a lack of budget was cited for the repair of a recently-damaged lone streetlight at the traffic roundabout,” he said.

“I think the town infrastructure should be given priority. There are about 65 businesses license holders of which 47 are operational. We have been paying everything for the town, but the facilities are scarce compared to other towns of similar size in the country,” he said.

Panbang Drungpa Sonam Dorji agreed that initially, a few incidents occurred when some inexperienced archers participated in the game. “But there were no accidents or incidences reported in the recent years.”

He said that the safety measures would be increased. “We have tried with bamboo plantation around the archery range, which was destroyed by cattle. We would plant banana trees on both sides of the range which should help.”

Sonam Dorji also refuted the claims of the public on purchasing lighting systems for the archery ground. He also said the installation of a new streetlight would cost Nu 32,000 while repairing would cost only Nu 2,000. “Since there is no budget for the procurement, I think the residents should cooperate to repair.”