Agriculture: If there is no ox, how can a work to be done by an ox be really done? The question is critical, indeed. That was the gist of National Assembly’s question-answer session with agriculture minister yesterday.

When the present government fought the elections, providing a power tiller to every chiwog was a promise it made, among others.

Agriculture Minister Yeshey Dorji said that people in the rural areas need not power tillers but the service of the machine to grow the food they need to grow.

Radhi Sakteng MP Jigme Wangchuk asked why the government has supplied power tiller only to gewogs so far when it is supposed to, according to party promise, to provide every chiwog with a power tiller each.

“The government is not able to provide a power tiller to every chiwog immediately, said Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji. “Because we are not able to provide every chiwog with power tiller, we have been trying thought gewogs.”

Lyonpo said that the government lends services of power tillers from Bondey in Paro, where there are 43 tractors and 30 power tillers, to Thimphu, Samtse and Haa. From Bajo in Wangdue, four dzongkhags of Punakha, Wangdue, Gasa and Trongsa are being covered. From Samtenling in Gelephu and Khangma in Trashinggang, power tiller services can also be availed.

“And there are other service centres…they are all functioning well…and there are at least three personnel from agriculture ministry to take care of the machines in each gewog,” said Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji.

Opposition Leader (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said that policies are taking a backtrack. “Service like we are discussing today have been there from long ago and have been functioning well…what is important is to aim at achieving self-sufficiency. That should be the aim of the nation.”

Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi said that government should not wait until its time is over and stick to its promise.

By Jigme Wangchuk