Agriculture: For want of irrigation water, acres of paddy fields in Durung, Trashigang, have been left barren for the last three years.

With the existing water source at Kukuri unable to cater to all 21 households, villagers have stopped cultivating paddy. There is a bigger water source at Chubidrang, but the hilly landscape hinders pipe connectivity.

Durung Tshogpa Ugyen Dorji said that paddy was once a household crop in the village. After the water source started drying, even drinking water became scanty and paddy cultivation was severely affected.

“From a single langdo, villagers were able to produce 250Kg of paddy,” he said. “Had it not been for the huge damage by wild animals, Durung could produce more.”

He said that villagers tried tapping water from Chubidrang, but water couldn’t climb through the pipes. Forest fires add to the challenge.

In 2014, construction of a 4.7km farm road until the water source at Chubidrang was started. The idea was to channel the water through pipes along the sides of the farm road.

“But the Nu 2 million budget was enough to construct about 2km road. So the works were discontinued,” said Ugyen Dorji. “Works were also affected because of the rocky terrain.”

When Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay visited Yangnyer gewog, villagers requested for immediate intervention to complete the farm road construction. The dzongkhag and gewog administrations are looking into the possibility of securing funds through gewog development grant (GDG) and annual grants.

Ugyen Dorji said the Ngambinang farm road, which is expected to come up soon, will affect Durung’s existing water source at Kukuri.

“Doing so would further aggravate our water woes. Villagers are concerned and are asking for the road’s alignment to be changed. The road could be constructed via Durung,” he said.

Tshering Wangdi | Trashigang