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Size does matter …

… when it comes to delivery of services in the larger gewogs of the biggest dzongkhag

Samkhar, Lumang and Phongmey Gewogs: Villagers from larger gewogs in Trashigang claim size of their gewogs was one of the biggest impediments, while availing public services.

Those from gewogs like Samkhar, Lumang and Phongmey said the distance of gewog offices from their villages made it difficult to access “timely” services.

Dawa Tshering, a villager from Pam under Samkhar gewog, said they were required to make frequent trips to gewog offices to avail services like getting permits, seeking technical assistance on agriculture and livestock, electoral meetings and census updates.

With the village about 25km away from its gewog office in Samkhar, he said it was a lot of hassle, since they were required to hitch a ride to get to the office.

“It’s becoming a problem for people like us, who don’t own cars or have money to hire taxis,” he said.

He also said balancing the development activities being brought in is a challenge, since gewog officials cannot visit the far flung villages as regularly.

Dawa Tshering said bifurcating the gewog was the only way to get closer to the office.

Samkhar gup, Sonam Dorji said, although the situation improved with opening of farm roads, accessibility was still a problem for some villagers.

He said they have tried to make the services available once a week from proper Trashigang town, which was closer to gewogs like Pam and Rangshikhar.

“Even I’m required to conduct same meeting several times to cover the entire gewog,” he said.

Villagers from Tshogonpa, Moshi and Khainingmanma under Lumang are also lobbying for a separate gewog.

Tshering Dorji, tshogpa of Tshogonpa chiwog, which is kilometres away from its gewog centre in Lumang, said they have been raising the issue since 2003.

“It’s difficult for both villagers and civil servants, while covering long distances,” he said.

Phongmey gup, Palden Dorji, said that, although his people had been asking for a separate gewog altogether, they were looking for a cost effective solution.

“Instead of creating a new gewog, building a bridge over Gamri river might be more viable for both people and government,” he said.

A bridge would connect Jangngenma and Soekhar farm roads, which would enable people to reach the gewog centre in an hour.

Right now, people from Thongrong, Phuensum and Yabrang also have to detour from Rangjung to get to the gewog office located on an opposite valley.  It took them around three hours to get there.

Meanwhile, Trashigang dzongda, Lungten Dorji, said that no new gewogs could be created because of upcoming elections.

He said it was only Parliament that could decide on such issues.

“Moreover, Pam and Rangshikhar are too small in size to be a gewog on its own,” Lungten Dorji said.

By Tempa Wangdi


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