Construction of a new irrigation channel is in the pipeline

Agriculture: More than 27 acres of wetland in Samrang gewog remain uncultivated for the past few years after a flood washed away the irrigation channel in the gewog.

With about 27 households affected, the wetland belonging to these families are filled with bushes today. Although villagers wanted to cultivate paddy, lack of proper water supply was a pertinent issue.

About a decade ago, villagers were allowed to cultivate on about five acres of government land. However, they stopped cultivating on the government land following security issues.

A farmer Tara Bir said that while the wetland they own have turned fallow, cultivating on the government land was enough to suffice their needs. However, he said now farmers are left with no land to cultivate.

“Otherwise, we could cultivate paddy twice a year if we had reliable water supply,” he said. “Now with access to road, things would have been better.”

Gup MB Gurung said that after the irrigation channel was washed away, the gewog office tried to arrange for a new irrigation channel. “We had the budget but there was no water at the source,” he said. “The rain kept washing away the old irrigation channels when renovated.”

However, he said that the on-going livestock mega farm project in Samrang would bring them a new irrigation channel, which has revived their hope to utilise their wetland.

Villagers also contributed free labour when the survey was conducted. “It is important for us to have an irrigation channel as we don’t have other means of income other than paddy cultivation,” he said.

Villagers are also hopeful that it wont be long before they will be able to revive their fallow wetland.

Farmer Dawa said that they were informed of the new irrigation channel for which they contributed labour. “We hope that it’s not a false promise,” he said.

Until the gewog gets a new irrigation channel, villagers would continue to grow vegetables mainly for self-consumption.

Yangchen C Rinzin, Samdrupcholing