Tarphel village is a five-day walk from the Bumdeling gewog centre in Trashiyangtse. The remote village in the mountains bordering India has 80 households and a population of around 600.

Villagers say life is tough. A family has to travel all the way to Bumdeling to deliver a baby or in case of serious injury admit the patient in the Basic Health Unit, which is also located there.

So when Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay visited their gewog last week, the villagers seized the opportunity to ask for a farm road to their village.

A villager from Tarphel, Leki, said: “If the government could provide us with a farm road, it would uplift our lives.”

Another villager at the meeting with Lyonchoen, Karma, said: “When they come to buy basic food and other items from Yangtse town, it takes them a week or more to get back home.”

Like many farmers in rural parts of the country, the villagers of Tarphel like Thukten , depend on farming for their livelihood. Their main crop is maize.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said that the government will look into the feasibility of constructing the road.

Thukten also requested the government for more budget to blacktop the 8.5km gewog centre road that began from Yangtse town this year. He added that Lyonchoen intervene so that enough budget is available for the blacktopping. Lyonchoen said the budget could be adjusted from the dzongkhag development grant or from the ministry.

Villagers also raised other issues during Lyonchoen’s routine gewog visit. Villagers asked if the government could upgrade Bumdeling Middle Secondary School to a Central School.

“The school today has 300 students and if it is upgraded to a Central School it would benefit the gewog,” a villager said.

Lyonchoen said that in the 12th Plan, there will be many Central Schools in the country where thousands of children will be accommodated in boarding facilities.

A college graduate from Bumdeling, Phurpa Dorji, said that there are many pilot projects underway in other dzongkhags. If the government could provide or implement such projects in the dzongkhag, it could help the youth there.

Lyonchoen said such projects could materialise in the future.

Tashi Phuntsho | Bumdeling