Pralang: Three farmers of Pralang village in Tang, Bumthang, have been ordered to pay crop compensation to their neighbour for denying him irrigation water because of which he could not cultivate paddy in 2010.
According to a verdict passed on December 27 the court ordered Leki Wangmo, Dechen Choezom and Sangay Wangmo to pay a total of 953.82kg of rice to Rinchenla.
The court on investigation found that in 2010 the three women had stopped irrigation water to Rinchenla’s paddy field as it passes through their fields. That year Rinchenla, 52, could not cultivate paddy.
The average calculation for the compensation was based on the data for three years maintained by the dzongkhag agriculture division.
The three women have a choice to either pay in kind or in cash as per the local rates, the verdict states. The verdict also states that Rinchenla will have to construct a wall at the water source and will have to use pipes from the end of Leki Wangmo’s field to avoid damage to the fields. He will also have to use pipes to pass water through Sangay Wangmo’s field to his paddy field.
Paddy cultivation in Pralang started in 2005 as a pilot by the agriculture ministry. Pralang has only seven households including Rinchenla’s.
When the former agriculture minister initiated the pilot project the seven households of the village were supportive and cultivated paddy until 2007 Rinchenla in an earlier interview had said.
Rinchenla also alleged that after the new government was formed in 2008 by the DPT, his neighbours started to stop the water flowing to his 52 decimal wet land, because he was the lone supporter in his village of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
“I reported the matter to the dzongkhag administration and managed to get water and reap paddy for that season,” Rinchenla had said.
However, the following year, the villagers completely refused to give water. Rinchenla alleged that, on April 18 this year, while trying to water his field, two people from the village tried to stop him, saying the matter is yet to be solved by the dzongkhag court.
He once again approached the dzongkhag court, which issued an order, stating the villagers should let Rinchenla use the water source for paddy. The order was read out to five of the villagers on April 24 by the village tshogpa (elected village representative). Two of the villagers had refused to follow the court instruction because the water passes through their fields.
Tshogpa Lekila said, although the two refused to agree, one of them in the evening agreed to let pass the water through his field. But Rinchenla is not comfortable with the decision, as not all the people involved agreed to the decision.
Rinchenla left his land fallow this season. “Even if I start working, it’ll be too late for paddy, as it has to be planted on right time,” he said.
Lekimo, 50, one of the villagers, who had refused to let the water pass through her field, said she had asked Rinchenla to use proper pipes, so there is no damage to her field. “In 2008, I couldn’t harvest any potato from where the water channel passes,” she said. “The seepage from the channel has affected my field and some portion even washed away”
The village’s water source comes from Tangrat, a few metres away.
Another farmer, 70-year-old Karma, said he had also asked that proper pipes be used, so that his field is not damaged.
Both parties have ten days to appeal if not satisfied with the verdict.
By Tashi Tenzin, Bumthang