The dzongkhag is behind its target on potato production, enrollment in NFE and infant mortality

MTR: Punakha dzongkhag has achieved more than half of its targets for the 11th Plan, according to the dzongdag and local leaders who presented the progress to the government yesterday during the Mid Term Review (MTR) at Lekithang higher secondary school.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said the 11th Plan activities could be implemented only in October 2013 and while it has not been two years yet, the government wanted to conduct the MTR to commemorate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

The district was allocated Nu 806.683M (million) to implement 11th Plan activities, which includes Nu 44M gewog development grant and Nu 50.488M funds for deposit works. Within two years, Punakha received Nu 317M and spent Nu 293M.

Presenting the report, Punakha dzongdag Karma Drukpa said some of the major achievements include the construction of a basic health unit (BHU) in Toebisa gewog, maintenance of three BHUs in Kabjisa, Shengana and Tsochasa and the renovation of an out-reach centre. Five of the targeted 12 rural water supply schemes were completed and 26 out of 41 targeted water sources were protected.

The district has also renovated and developed six primary schools, two lower secondary schools, four middle secondary schools and two higher secondary schools. Three farm roads totaling 21.22kms in gewogs of Toewang, Baarp and Talo have been constructed against the target to construct eight farm roads.  The district has also maintained 10 farm roads totaling a length of 39.5kms. The target is to maintain 244.1kms of farm road by the end of the Plan.

He said the district has also constructed an irrigation channel and maintained 39 irrigation channels, against the target to maintain and develop 72 irrigation schemes. “We have constructed two motorable bridges and implemented 149 projects in 11 gewogs with gewog development grants,” the dzongdag said.

“We have constructed nine religious structures including dzongs and lhakhangs and renovated 28 religious structures,” he said.

The dzongkhag administration has also constructed six out of the 12 planned civil infrastructures including riverbank protection, drinking water supply to Sona-Gasa and Phuntsho pelri palaces, retaining walls and public toilets. Seven civil infrastructures including gewog offices, meeting halls and palaces were renovated in less than two years against the actual target to renovate 21 civil infrastructures.

Activities that Punakha is behind in are potatoes production, infant mortality and enrollment of non-formal education learners. It has produced 114 metric tons (MT) of potatoes against the 525 MT target, enrolled 101 NFE learners for the targeted 500, and reported three infant deaths against one death.

The dzongdag urged the government to consider enhancing the annual budget ceiling and proposed to incorporate 16 new activities and drop 15 activities from the Plan. Lyonchoen said the activities would be discussed during the gewog visit.

Limbukha gup Sonam Tobgay said some gewogs are deprived of small-development-programme (SDP) funds despite meeting the criteria and requested the government to provide a SPD project for each gewog for balanced development.

The local leaders also requested the need to improve the thickness of blacktopping for gewog centre road the Dzomi gup Phuntsho Namgay suggested the government to look for possibilities in establishing a college in Tashiding and to consider converting Tashiding School as a central school.

Education minister Mingbo Drukpa said they would look into the suggestion. In response to Toewang gup Touchu’s queries on poor Internet service, information and communications minister, Lyonpo D N Dhungyel said the almost every gewog across the country are facing Internet problems.

“The net is slow if the dzongkhag has more number of gewogs while the network is good in dzongkhags with less gewogs,” he said. “However, we have conducted a study to find out the problem, and would try to resolve it within the 2016 fiscal year.”

Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha