Religion: It is almost the end of the paddy transplantation season, but Khandu of Chubbu gewog in Punakha is yet to finish transplanting his two-acre paddy fields.

Lack of rain and having to share the little available water are the reasons.

Hoping for rainfall, Khandu joined several farmers from 11 gewogs who had come to conduct the daylong auspicious Kanjur-Lingkor ritual ceremony in Punakha, yesterday.

Local leaders, monks of the Punakha dratshang and dzongkhag officials jointly conducted the ritual to bring rain and allow paddy transplantations across villages in Punakha.

According to the dratshang, the Kanjur-Lingkor is being conducted to not just bring timely rain but also for a bountiful harvest.

Four of the 11 gewogs in Punakha: Guma, Toewang, Baap and Chubbu are affected by lack of rain, senior dzongkhag agriculture officer, NB Adhikari said.

The problem is occurring because irrigation water has to be shared among many farmers. With no rainfall, the quantity of available water is decreasing.

However, NB Adhikari said other measures are being pursued so that farmers can complete transplantation on time. “We have received two water pumps for upper Baap gewog,” he said.

Three days ago, Guma gewog was provided with two water-pumps to bring water from the river. Of 337 acres of paddy fields in Guma chiwog of Guma gewog, only 98 acres were transplanted. Transplantation in the remaining paddy fields is being carried out using the newly supplied water pumps.

For Dochurisa chiwog of Guma, the dzongkhag has requested a water pump from the regional agriculture machinery centre located in Wangdue.

NB Adhikari said for Chubbu gewog, three water pumps were provided last week, and the gewog has started drawing water from the river.

Hebisa chiwog of Chubbu has more than 40 acres of paddy fields yet to be transplanted. “With three water pumps, we are expecting to cover the transplantation within a few days,” he said. Transplantation in Toewang gewog is ongoing after being provided with two water pumps.

NB Adhikari said that if it rains in the next few days, it will help farmers to complete  transplantations and catch up with the paddy cultivation season.

Meanwhile, farmers said they have jointly conducted such rituals for rainfall. Such rituals are only conducted during such dry spells.

Dawa Gyelmo | Punakha