Neten Dorji | Kanglung

Trashigang Dzongkhag Tshogdu Chairperson asked gewogs to ensure the safety measures on archery ranges across the dzongkhag after a man was hit on the head in Rangshikhar.

The office order states that all archery ranges should have safety walls.

“All local leaders can only allow archery matches if the archery range is safe to play,” the DT chairperson wrote. “Archers need to refrain from playing near road points and footpaths.”

Kanglung gewog alone has around 13 archery ranges, mostly near roads or settlements, posing danger to commuters and residents. Only eight archery ranges have safety measures.

The DT Chairperson, who is the Yangneer gup, Dubthob said that for the safety of people the DT ordered gewogs to take necessary action. “As the cases related to arrow hits are increasing, the DT asked all gewogs to see if their respective ranges are safe to play.”

He said that DT issued the order after they received a letter from Trashigang police.

Most of the archers play archery during weekends and on holidays. Safety within the archery range and of the nearby homes, vehicles and people was a growing issue.

Along with traditional archery, imported bows and arrows were also becoming popular in the east.

Citing concerns of archers and people, Kanglung Gup, Kinzang Dorji said the gewog has asked all chiwog tshogpa to improve the safety measures at archery ranges.

“Despite most of the ranges being safe to play, we asked not to entertain the archery matches, if ranges do not have safety measures,” said gup, Kinzang Dorji. “At least safety walls reduce 80 percent of the risk.”

An archer said that most of the archery-related accidents occurred during local tournaments in villages. “Archers are careless and play under the influence of alcohol. Moreover, many play without proper training.”

He attributed the accidents to archers’ carelessness.

Another archer said that installing safety fences or walls and signboards around the archery range is necessary.

“It is equally important for individuals to protect themselves from being hit. Competitions should be banned if safety measures are not initiated,” he said.

Many archers say the installation of signboards will help the general public to be aware of a match in progress.

The BIGSA’s rules and regulations state that the dimension or archery field should include a minimum of 20 metres safe distance behind each target area excluding the space for spectators.

“No public thoroughfares of any kind including parking of vehicles should be allowed within the archery field. If the provision for spectators is required, the width of the area should be increased to a minimum of 40 metres,” the regulations stated.

The regulations also say that the archery range should have a safety barrier or wall of at least two metres high and long.

A wall of at least 6 metres high with two-meter-high wire mesh on top with the smallest possible eyes should be erected behind each target, according to the regulations. “The minimum width of the wall should be 7 meters.”