Tour: A motor bridge over Punatsangchhu and adequate electric fencing were the two major promises, among several others, that Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay made in his first visit to Nichula gewog in Lhamoizingkha, Dagana yesterday.

Lyonchoen walked for 45 minutes until Bichgaon to meet the people of the gewog.

“This is my first visit here and I see the major problem is that there is no bridge over the Punatsangchhu,” Lyonchoen said.

Nichula is only connected with a pedestrian suspension bridge over the Punatsangchhu. He indicated to the 50 villagers in attendance that a bridge will be constructed in a few years. “If there is a motor bridge, development is sure to come.”

Meanwhile, Lyonchoen also announced that a bailey bridge would be constructed over the Nichula river at Bararay under Allay Chiwog in the upcoming financial year. This bridge will be the first motor bridge to the gewog.

The bailey bridge will connect the 12km farm road to four chiwogs. As of now, the farm road has connected only two chiwogs, Daragaon and Bichgaon.

“The Sunkosh hydroelectric project is coming soon,” Lyonchoen said. “The detailed project report (DPR) will be complete within the next two months.”

After the detailed report is completed, Lyonchoen added that within the next two years, bridges would be constructed. The bridge over Punatsangchhu would be given priority once the Sunkosh hydroelectric project is approved, he added.

On human-wildlife conflict, Lyonchoen promised the people of Nichula gewog that the government will provide extra electric fencing facilities to cover all villages.

As of now, only Daragaon chiwog has been provided with electric fencing, but this was provided by the Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary. The area is also infested with elephants and wild boars.

Lyonchoen also promised to provide one more power tiller for Nichula. He also announced that from next year, every chiwog will receive one power tiller each.

A villager, Garjaman Karki, said that villagers are happy about the Prime Minister’s visit. “Until today, Lyonchoen had never come to our remote gewog,” he said.

Garjaman Karki of Bichgaon also said that there were many development activities visible in the gewog today such as the gewog centre, RNR centre, and farm roads, among others.

Meanwhile, Lyonchoen also visited another gewog called Karmaling in Lhamoizingkha. Blacktopping of the gewog roads and connecting Lhamoizingkha from Dagapela was highlighted.

A budget of Nu 34.8 million (M) to blacktop the 14km road from Lhamoizingkha to Karmaling has been approved under Small Development Project III. However, four bridges will have to be constructed, which requires huge investment.

Lyonchoen said to the people of Karmaling that a new survey will be carried out to find the best options of building a bridge over the Sethi river. This river remains flooded most of the time in summer and constructing a bridge over it will mean a huge investment.

The 51km highway between Odalthang and Dagapela, which was left incomplete because of corruption also will be restarted and completed in the next two years, it was announced.

A budget of Nu 736M has been allocated.

Meanwhile, Lyonchoen made it clear that the government’s responsibility is to find funds for development activities, and underlined that it was the people’s responsibility to take ownership and care of facilities.

Rajesh Rai | Lhamoizingkha