Kelzang Wangchuk | Jomotshangkha

Six power tillers issued by the then government, which are supposed to be busy in the fields at this time of the year, are lying idle at Langchenphu gewog in Jomotshangkha, Samdrupjongkhar.

The power tillers have been defunct for more than two years now.

This is because the gewog administration could not replace some parts of the power tiller.

A farmer, Kelzang Dorji, 66, said the power tillers helped the farmers for about three years during the paddy cultivation.

He said they didn’t even know what happened to the power tillers. “We reported the matter to an operator.”

Another farmer, Tandin Wangmo, 40, said they hire the private power tillers during paddy cultivation at the moment because the gewog administration could not fix the government power tillers.

She said hiring private power tillers is expensive as they have to pay about Nu 1,500 to Nu 2,000 a day. “It would help us if concerned authorities could repair the power tillers.”

Villagers said although the power tillers were provided for public service, they could not reap much benefits.

“We don’t know whose responsibility it is to maintain and repair the power tillers?” a villager said. “Either the gewog administration or the Farm Machinery Corporation Limited should repair it.”

He said keeping the power tillers idle is a waste of state funds.

Langchenphu gup, Guman Singh Gaylal, said they could not fix the power tillers because of the ownership issue. “The ownership is with FMCL and not with the gewog administration.”

He said the gewog administration tried to repair and fix the defunct power tillers but could not as they didn’t get the spare parts. “We have informed the FMCL to repair those power tillers.”

The gup said the gewog administration has no separate budget for the power tiller maintenance but only to monitor them. “It would help manage the budget if the FMCL could give us the ownership.”

FMCL officials, however, said two power tillers were beyond repair and lifted from the gewog and kept at one of the villagers’ houses.

According to officials four power tillers were functional and deployed in the fields.

Officials said that they could not repair those two power tillers as they could not get the spare parts during the lockdown. “We would give the ownership to the gewogs if they want but under some terms and conditions. We would also provide additional power tillers if it’s required.”