Seven years had gone by since it was bought

Electricity: Dungkarling chiwog’s electric rice mill installed about seven years ago has never been utilized with villagers still waiting to assemble the motors of the mill.

Worth Nu 36,000, the rice mill was procured from the Constitutional Development Grant during the previous government’s tenure.

However, after the rice mill reached the chiwog, it remained idle. The rice mill lies in a bad state today in a bamboo structure. The motors lie rusted while the structure housing the mill is on the verge of collapsing.

Chiwog tshogpa Tsechu said they need electricity connection from Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) to run the mill.

Tsechu said that initially the materials were not in place. After the materials arrived, the issue of electricity came up. The villagers also had to construct the structure to house the mill twice.

“There are three private rice mills in the chiwog which people use,” he said. “But it doesn’t benefit villagers as the owners operate only as and when they want or when they are free.”

“If the rice mill was operational, we can form a cooperative and have our own operator,” he said. “We raised the issue with the gewog office and BPC several times.”

Dungkarling chiwog produce a lot of rice. For the past two years, the chiwog has also been supplying to Food Corporation of Bhutan besides keeping aside grain for self-consumption and selling in the local market.

Each household harvests more than 400 muri of rice (40kg) and earn about Nu 50,000 on an average. There are 70 households that would benefit from the mill, if it were operational.

Phuntshothang gup Sangay said BPC informed them that additional poles and cables were required as the present transformer will not be able to bear the load. The transformer is also connected to the private mills.

“BPC officials told us that the transformer would be upgraded and the mill would be connected with electricity by this year,” he said.

BPC officials said they are yet to decide on an option on how to run the mill since they will have to look for ways to supply electricity.

An official said that since the villagers did not consult them before installing the mill, they could not supply electricity as the mill lies just above the road while the transformer was on the other side of the road.

“Supplying electricity from above the road is not feasible and for underground cable, villagers will have to bear the cost,” he said. “We’re also exploring the option to use additional pole near the mill.”

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupcholing