Denchukha, Samtse: The impending construction of a bridge that will connect, Denchukha gewog in Samtse, by a farm road, to other gewogs via Dorokha, has excited residents of Denchukha, many of whom are planning to buy vehicles.
Chandran Badhur Tiwari, 62, said his children were planning to buy a vehicle, so they could drive to the village to visit him any time. “I’ve also heard many youth are learning how to drive,” he said. “Even if they can’t buy one, they can at least earn as a driver.”
“About eight households have already shared their interest to buy a vehicle for use as a public transport service,” Denchukha gup, Hem Raj Limbu, said, through a telephonic interview.
It will also be the first time residents, who are mostly farmers, will see a vehicle in their village. Apart from the excitement and curiousity, farmers are expected to reap benefits from the bridge and the farm road.
“Farmers will be able to transport cash crop to the dungkhag,” the gup said. “They’ll also be able to transport basic goods and construction materials.”
Porterage charge, the gup said, was also high at Nu 6 a kg in winter and Nu 10 a kg during monsoon. “There aren’t enough porters either,” he said.
The gewog administrative officer, Denzang, said villagers can sell their mandarin and elaichi, the main cash crop in monsoon. “Today they have to carry it to Toorsa and sell,” he said. “But once vehicles ply, they can sell it in Samtse.”
He said it will also benefit residents visit hopital or the grade I basic health unit at the dungkhag.
A villager, Chandra Badhur, said he a road would help in making markets accessible, especially while transporting perishable goods.
The bridge’s groundbreaking ceremony, yesterday, was graced by education minister Thakur Singh Powdyel. Construction of the bridge is scheduled for January 2013, and is expected to be completed in 18 months.
The 120m long, Nu 40M worth, bailey suspension bridge will benefit about 400 households in Denchukha gewog. Residents have to walk to Dorokha dungkhag, despite a formation and cutting of 21km of the 30km farm road being complete.
The gewog is officially a one-day walk from Dorokha dungkhag at present. The bridge will be located 14km from Dorokha, and have a capacity of about 15MT. Denchukha will be 16km from the bridge.
“Despite having the farm road, it’s difficult to use it without a bridge,” project manager Kado Dukpa said. “The bridge is must to join the village with the dungkhag.”
Currently, a suspension bridge, the oldest in the dzongkhag, is used.
By Yangchen C Rinzin, Phuentsholing