Chimi Dema | Dagana

Nima Sherpa, a farmer in Tashithang under Geserling gewog, Dagana had to leave her 25-decimal land fallow.

The ongoing construction of a drinking water supply project for upcoming Dagapela township has affected 17 households in Tashithang.

Gewog Mangmi Phurtempa Sherpa said: “Initially, we were informed that the work would be completed within two years and farmers could cultivate their land again. It’s now been almost three years and not even half of the work is completed.”

The mangmi said that the problem was severe for a group of farmers with only small plot of land. “When half of their land is occupied for the project, it affects their crop production.”

The Chiwog Tshogpa Kharga Bdr. Subba said that farmers were paid compensation for only cardamom and few other agricultural produce but not for paddy. “The laying of pipelines occupied many paddy fields but our farmers didn’t get any compensation.”

He said that farmers were also not paid for damaged fodder for livestocks. “The damage was assessed and reports prepared but none of the farmers received the compensation.”

The tshogpa said that the farmers would be able to recover loss if the project is completed soon. “But what if it is extended further and our farmers affected.” “We would want it to complete at the earliest.”

Nima Sherpa said that she received Nu 37,000 compensation for her damaged cardamoms and tomatoes.

“Currently, pipes are being laid over the ground and the work progress is minimum at the site,” she said. This, she added affected crop production.

Another farmer, Dawa Lhamo Sherpa said that the project began right after she planted cardamom on her 50-decimal land in 2018. She didn’t receive any compensation.

“My cardamom plants have started bearing capsules now but I’m worried that some of them would be damaged once the excavation work begins.”

The project has occupied about 10 decimals of her land.

Project engineer Phuntsho Galey said that the work would be completed by June next year.

Although the project was estimated to be completed in two years initially, he said the extension period for 14 months was given by the project committee due to the additional rock cutting work. With the construction of reservoir and break pressure tanks underway, he said that work couldn’t begin to lay water pipes underground.

He said that the farmers were given compensation for two years. “But we may have to give them for one more year according to the terms in our documents.”

With the source located at Lemichhu in Kana gewog, the 29-kilometer pipelines passes through Kana, Goshi and Geserling gewogs.