Ground breaking ceremony for RRCDP farm road held

The Prime Minister breaking the ground to pave way for Sherubling-Buka Farm Road
The Prime Minister breaking the ground to pave way for Sherubling-Buka Farm Road

May 24, Samtse: The Hon’ble Prime Minister for Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay initiated the ground breaking ceremony of Sherubling-Buka Farm Road in Tading geog. The ceremony was attended by the Hon’ble Agriculture Minister, Yeshey Dorji; Hon’ble Minister for Information and Communications, D N Dhungyel, Members of Parliament from Samtse along with the Project Director and Engineer for Remote Rural Communities Development Project (RRCDP); officials and locals.

The 10.1km road will be constructed departmentally using the machineries form the Central Machinery Unit. It will benefit 80 households (hhs) directly and 50 hhs indirectly. The road is one of the longest amongst the four roads that are being constructed through RRCDP. The others are Denchukha-Kaduri (6.2 km) and Denchukha-Pungtha (6.6 km) under Denchukha geog, and Dungtoe-Kuche (6.1km) under Dungtoed geog. Together, the four roads will benefit 448 hhs, substantially reducing their walking distance. The other three roads have been tendered out. The existing 2.5km road constructed earlier has been damaged due to slides which will be improved with some necessary changes in alignment that will make the road 12.6 km long.

After the ceremony, a meeting was held with the beneficiaries and locals after which a lunch was served to them.  Addressing the people, Lyonchhoen emphasised the need for beneficiaries to join hands with the government in making the interventions a success. He highlighted the benefits the road will bring to the villages of Gairigaon I and II, Barbotey, Tapagaon, Sisnay and Kamal Barjang. The road he said will be handed over to the public once completed. He urged the gathering to increase agricultural production for food self sufficiency, import substitution and thus improve food trade balance.

The Hon'ble Agriculture Minister addressing the people
The Hon’ble Agriculture Minister addressing the people

Later, the Agriculture Minister emphasised that the farmers should prepare to take advantage of connectivity with the market by increasing their production from their farms. He also informed about the plan to construct farm shops and highlighted how that will create convenience to rural folks.

Several other RNR activities are also in full swing in Samtse with funding support from RRCDP/World Bank. The project has supplied a total of 60 cows and more than 3000 poultry birds within in 2013/14 and 2014/15 to Dophuchen geog.  Some 4025 disease free citrus graftings worth Nu.318,000.00 were also supplied benefitting 284 hhs in Dophuchen and Dumtoe geogs.

Additionally, 47,665 nos. of cardamom seedlings were also distributed. Orchard owners were provided with training on orchard management and Dzongkhag is supplied with protection gears, power chain saws and gator sprayers for clearing disease infested orchards and managing new plants. Farmers were also trained on community forestry management with establishment of nurseries and plantation of high value timber in community forestry in several communities.

The project is also supporting the several irrigation schemes amongst which a major one, 5.10 km Birutar Irrigation Channel of worth Nu. 17.91million covering an area of 200 acres, benefitting 235hhs of Pemaling geog has already begun. The project sub-component establishing community and marketing infrastructure is also benefitting beneficiaries in a big way. The project beneficiaries in a consultative participatory process choose and set their priorities within the given budget.

So far, two foot bridges have been constructed under Namgaychoeling geog; two more are under process in Norgaygang and Tading geogs. A total of five power tillers are at different stages of procurement for Pemaling, Dophuchen, and Denchukha geogs. Some 24 agro processing machines such as oil expeller, maize mills, rice hullers, etc are at various stages of procurement for Dophuchen, Dungtoed, Denchukha, Namgaychoeling and Tading and will be completed within 2014/15. Poor communities in Tading and Namgaychoeling were supported with clean drinking water and toilets for health sanitation improvement.

Contributed by Dr. Kuenga Namgay, Project Director, RRCDP at PPD

Photos by Choidup Zangpo, ICS

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