With the road blocked, villagers are transporting school rations

Farm Road: Villagers of remote Taksha, Tsara and Silli in Wangduephodrang don’t want their village school closed with students busy preparing for the final examinations. They would do anything to keep it going.

With the only road to the school, the 21.7km Taksha-Silli farm road heavily blocked by landslides for more than two months, the school remained cut off and ration is running out. To save Taksha primary school from closing, villagers came to help transport school rations from the road point till the school yesterday.

The primary school has 136 students, of which 75 are fed three meals while the rest receives lunch from the school. Dependent on the World Food Programme (WFP) supply, food ration arrives every four months.

School’s principal, Leki Wangdi said the school has stock which is sufficient to last not more than 20 days. “The school might have to close if the rations stocked in a shop near the road point cannot be transported to the school,” he said. “It was impossible to clear the farm road, therefore we sought people’s help through informing tshogpas.”

The villagers immediately came to the rescue. One member each from the 13 households of Taksha came to help on October 22 and 18 households of Silli village came with some horses yesterday. Today the school is expecting 21 people from Taksha village, which would reach the remaining bags to the school. However, the villagers were paid Nu 5 a kg.

Local people said it takes almost a day for a villager to travel till the road point and reach 25kg of rice bag to the school.

The school receives rice, dhal (lentils) and channa (chick peas) from WFP and a stipend of Nu 250 per student from the government to cover the rest.

Daga gewog officials said unlike in the past, the farm road was heavily blocked. “The farm road is not even visible with landslides blocking an entire stretch,” Daga gewog’s administration officer, Desang said.

Gewog officials said recently a contractor working with Punatsangchu hydropower project’s excavator was deployed for four days to clear the block, but it couldn’t clear much.

They said the dzongkhag administration has instructed the gewog office to find ways to clear the block.  “Given the current status of the block, it seems impossible to clear even with a budget of Nu 100,000,” said Desang.  However, he said they are looking for other ways to clear the block before November 11.

The farm road was constructed in 2010 with Nu 25M KRII grant from Japan. The road is one of the longest farm roads in Wangdue. The farm road mostly remains blocked, and dusty with more three stone quarries in operation near the road.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue