Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Samdrupjongkhar has found a cheaper option to keep their road in shape. The dzongkhag administration formed farm road-user groups in all chiwogs of its 11 gewogs to make efficient and good use of the farm roads. 

Samdrupjongkhar Dzongrab Pema Dorji said the officials provided the training such as the development of guidelines for the group members. “The groups clear the blocks today and some of the groups have also generated the budget.” 

He said the group members developed their own guidelines and have been doing well.

“We formed the groups to give people the sense of ownership and responsibility to clear and maintain the farm roads whenever it is required,” the dzongrab said.

Local leaders said it was challenging for the gewog administrations to clear and maintain the farm roads because the gewogs had only minimal budgets for it earlier.

“But the formation of such groups in the chiwogs helped the gewogs to save the budgets because the groups clear the blocks and maintain the farm roads today,” a gup said.

Residents said the farm roads in the gewogs should be well maintained because they are important for them to trade agricultural products but the roads often get blocked in summer.

They said they have been depending on the concerned authorities such as the gewogs to maintain the roads but they now do not have to depend on the gewogs unless there are no major blocks. 

“We have now realised that it’s also our responsibility to clear the blocks and maintain the farm roads and make good use of them. It’s important to think about what we can do for the government,” a resident said. 

Meanwhile, the dzongkhag has about 128 farm roads covering more than 614 kilometres (km) and four more are under construction. More than 75 roads were constructed in the current plan.

The farm roads in the dzongkhag benefit more than 6,170 households.

According to the report compiled by the dzongkhag administration, Dewathang gewog has farm roads covering about 23.3km and 46.4km in Langchenphu gewog, Gomdar gewog has 57.5km, 54.11km in Martsala gewog, 38km in Orong gewog, Pemathang gewog has 22.42km, Phuentshothang gewog has 75.9km, 4.1km in Samrang gewog, 76.2km in Serthi gewog and Wangphu gewog has the roads that cover about 65.2km.