Kelzang Wangchuk | Orong

Jangchubling and Remung chiwogs in Orong, Samdrupjongkhar, are connected with farm roads, but without bridges over the Khasharong and Gamtshalo rivers, people in the chiwogs cannot use the farm roads in the summer.

Farmers from the two chiwogs, who grow ginger and oranges as the main cash crops, constructed temporary wooden bridges about a year ago to transport the farm produce.

According to the farmers, the rivers swell unpredictably in summer even when there is no rain in the mountains.

A farmer, Sonam Dawa, from Mandar, said his village was connected by the farm road about 10 years ago, but they still haven’t been able to reap the full benefit of the road because of the lack of bridges over the two rivers.

“Villagers discussed constructing a temporary bridge,” he said.

Another villager, Tshewang Tenzin, 65, from Jangchubling, said they could only use the roads in the winter because they could not cross the swelling rivers for about three months in the summer.

He said they raised the matter to the chiwog tshogpa, but nothing was done. “Every household contributed Nu 500 to Nu 1,000 to construct the temporary bridges.”

Villagers said they took about a month to construct the makeshift bridges, and the contractors from the two chiwogs also provided the machinery supports to lift logs.

Many parents had to drop their children off at school, as they could not cross the rivers, but with the temporary bridge, children could easily walk along the makeshift bridges.

They, however, said that although the temporary bridges help them during emergencies, they are still in dire need of a permanent bridge over the two rivers.

“The temporary bridges will not be as strong and safe,” a villager said.

A driver, Kinley, said there is no point constructing roads without the bridges. “The temporary bridge is not strong enough for heavy vehicles.”

Orong gewog officials said although the two chiwogs need the bridges, the gewog administration has no plans to construct it. “Constructing a bridge requires a huge budget.”

Officials said that they made a proposal for the budget to construct the bridges but got rejected.