Poverty has reduced to one percent in Thrimshing and Kangpara

Neten Dorji | Thrimshing

Nothing of the past has remained in the once far-flung gewogs of Trashigang, Thrimshing and Kangpara. The gewogs today are connected with paved roads, villages have farm roads, and numerous large government infrastructure including bigger schools is evidence that the gewogs have changed.

More than a decade ago other than a few schools, health facilities, simple drungkhag and gewog administration offices the gewogs were bereft of any sign of modernity.

However, within that period residents of the gewogs saw unprecedented development. The gewogs were connected to mobile networks, rural electrification and farm roads.

The makeshift huts that were sprinkled over the hills have been fast replaced with one storey traditional houses and horses ferrying goods over the narrow muddy trails lost their place to brand new bolero pickups plying on paved road.

Mandarin and potato were mostly transported to Samdrupjongkhar and sold there. People carried these produce on mules and horses spending nights in caves through jungles with ration.

However, this practice is now unheard of and the hardships have ended for farmers.

“Boleros are everywhere today,” said Sherub Zangmo from Sako village in Thrimshing.

She said it was a sign that the gewog is now well connected with the rest of the world. She said “The farm road came as a relief to the horses, let alone human beings.”

Another villager, Chojey Wangmo said, “In the past, we could only imagine ourselves carrying loads from Thrimshing, walking more than six hours to reach our village.”

She said that even if the road was not fully established, it was almost like having a proper road. “Until we are connected, we have remained in the dark,” she added.

Today, there are more than 70 boleros in the Thrimshing alone and about 22 in Kangpara, according to local residents.

“Every village is connected with farm road and 90 percent approach roads with people owning bolero pickups,” said Thrimshing Mangmi, Yegay Dorji.

For the farmers, transporting agriculture produce to nearby settlements like Wamrong has become easier and their life has become more comfortable.

In Thungkhar village, shopkeeper Kuenga Dorji has seen business prosper since the advent of the road.  “Transportation has become easier and cheaper. Unlike before which took almost one day, we get things in a few hours,” he said.

He sold his five horses and bought a bolero pick up. Numerous shops also popped up in the villages around.

For more than a decade, five chiwogs with a total of 17 major villages in Thrimshing gewog was connected with 79km. In Kangpara, 22 major villages were connected with 43km farm road, which brought new changes to the people.

A businessman, Leki, based at Thrimshing, said after the road reached the villages, most shopkeepers have gone back to their villages. There are only five grocery shops and restaurants in Thrimshing drungkhag.

According to local leaders, the gewog has a 100 percent washable toilet coverage, the living standard has improved and the poverty rate also dropped to one percent.

Before Kangpara road construction began in 2009, agriculture produce was transported to Wamrong on horses, said Kangpara gup, Sangay Wangdi.  People had to walk more than 10 hours and return home the same day.

“Today 90 percent of the villages in the gewog is connected with farm roads and other approach roads,” the gup said. Other villages without roads would also get connected in the 12th plan and budget has been proposed.

A 72-years old resident, Dorji from Kangpara, said there is a lot of movement of local people and goods including agriculture produce. “Life has become easier. We can also quickly ferry the sick to the hospital in Reserbu.”

With the coming of roads, he said, people need not walk like in the past as vendors visit homes to buy oranges and potatoes.

Meanwhile, farmers said it is now convenient to avail public services with offices such as financial Bank, police station, BHU and Bhutan Power Corporation opened in their gewog.