Eleven men from Pang and Bemji villages of Nubi gewog in Trongsa were busy laying wooden planks underneath the wheels (continuous track) of the dzongkhag Kobelco excavator as the machine plied the gewog centre (GC) road yesterday.

The men, who started their day at 8am from Bemji, place the planks on the road so that the raggedtreads of the excavator’s tracks do not damage the blacktopped road. As some men place the planks beneath the track, others run ahead to lay them before the excavator.

Village tshogpa, Namgay Lhendup, said the heavy machine cuts through the road and damage it permanently.

He said the machine could not be transported on a trailer because the GC road and bridges were too small for the trailer.

He explained that the machine was brought to the village a month ago to turn the sloped dry land into terraces so that people could use farm machinery. “We brought the excavator like that and saved the road from any damages.”

Namgay Lhendup said the agriculture officials initiated the move to turn the dry land into terraces to encourage people to make use of their land.

“The future is in farm mechanisation, as most people in the locality do not rear oxen like our forefathers and the slanted land were not feasible for machinery,” he said.

According to the tshogpa, the 11 men are from houses that benefitted from the excavator. “The machine helped turn more than 13 acres of land into terraces in the two villages.”

A small excavator has also been deployed to turn another five acres of land into terraces. “These lands are too steep for the Kobelco,” Namgay Lhendup said.

He said that from next year, slanted dry land in other villages would also be provided the excavator. “The ministry provides some fund to fuel the excavator and villagers have to provide meals for the machine operator.”

Though tedious, the men say they did a satisfactory job as they called off the day around 4:30pm. They managed to take the excavator about 12kms away from the gewog towards Jeezam. They have another five kilometres to go.

A farmer, Dorji Wangdi, 41, from Bemji said they had to park the excavator on the roadside and return home, as they had to walk.

The men would resume the work today and expect to reach it at the highway today.

Tashi Dema  | Trongsa