April 15, Gelephu: The Hon’ble Agriculture Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji accompanied by Mr. Yamakoshi, Counsellor of Japanese Embassy, New Delhi and other officials from Japan inaugurated the Taklai irrigation channel in Chuzargang geog. The rehabilitation of Taklai irrigation project was financed through the grant aid from the Japanese government.
Taklai irrigation system is the largest irrigation system in the country. It can irrigate a gross area of over 2900 acres of paddy fields and was constructed in 1980s. It was the main source of irrigation water for the farmers. The channel draws water from Taklai River which is prone to flash floods during monsoon season causing major damage to the agricultural infrastructures mainly at the intake points.
In 1998, the first major rehabilitation works were carried out by Royal Government of Bhutan at the cost of 20 million ngultrum. Due to annual flash floods, it had incurred heavy maintenance cost of ngultrum 2 million annually to the government and the people.
In 2004, the flood event had completely destroyed the infrastructure at high level channel intake and large stripe of agricultural land was also washed away. In order to address this problem, the Ministry had deployed a set of earth moving equipment at Gelephu almost on the permanent basis. Despite this effort, the problems still remained and the livelihood and food security of local community were at stake.
The flash flood in 2010 destroyed major infrastructure facilities and it had disturbed the irrigation water supply for almost about a year. Having become unmanageable, the government finally requested the Japanese government for support. With consent and approval from the Japanese government, the rehabilitation project under grant scheme was commissioned in October 2013.
With inauguration of the rebuilt infrastructure, it ensures sustainability as well as meets the needs of local community for their assured irrigation water. Mr. Karma Tshethar, the chief executive engineer stated ‘Tthe irrigation water supply to almost 398 households is finally secured; we hope their livelihood and income will be enhanced hereafter.’ Even the people of Chuzargang and Sherzhong geogs are hopeful that they will be able to cultivate without any troubles, and even do winter cropping with which they can fight back poverty, securing food availability at the same time improving their living standards.
Lyonpo in his inaugural speech stated ‘Tthe need of irrigation water system has been very crucial for the farmers in paddy cultivation’ and emphasised that Chuzargang and Sherzhong as the important rice production areas. Lyonpo thanked the Government and people of Japan for their generous assistance. Lyonpo added ‘The completion of 7 km Taklai irrigation scheme with fund support of approximately one billion yen from the Japanese government marks a very important milestone for the country and particularly to the Ministry towards achieving 11th FYP target of ensuring food and nutrition security.’
Sherzhong gup on behalf of his people dedicated the inauguration of irrigation channel to the 60th Birth Anniversary of The Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck and prayed not to be hit by such disaster of flashflood again. On the other hand, Chuzargang gup pledged to work with commitment as per the Hon’ble Lyonpo’s directives.
The Taklai irrigation channel was officially handed over to the members of the water users association in presence of Lyonpo, representatives from the Japanese government, Dzongkhag administration and senior officials. The group signed the handing taking note covering the guidelines, timely management and protection of the irrigation channel.
Reported by Tashi Yangzom with Photo by Choidup Zangpo, ICS
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