English | Dzongkha Saturday, August 8, 2020

Poor drainage system blamed for causing landslide, Ridzommo

Sep 17, 2019

Following the landslides which damaged cash crops, people of Ridzommo under Dechhenling Gewog in Pema Gatshel are requesting for a retaining wall. They say such an intervention has become immediate to minimize the impending risks and damages to their source of income.

Triggered by incessant rainfall, the landslides in July washed away orange trees and cardamom plants belonging to three households. Locals blame the poor drainage system of their Gewog Centre (GC) road, which passes above Ridzommo.

“The first landslide washed away 13 of my orange trees. In the following incident, eight more were damaged. The slides also affected my cardamom plants. After waiting for three years, the plants had started fruiting. I am worried over repaying the money I borrowed for starting cardamom farming,” said Karma Tshering,  from Ridzommo in Dechhenling Gewog, Pema Gatshel.

“My cardamom plants were growing well until the landslides damaged them. It also washed away orange trees. And now, whatever land I am left with has developed cracks,” added Sangchen Dorji, from the same village.

“The landslide buried fodder plants I grew for my cattle. On top of that, I lost around 30 decimals of land to the disaster,” shared Rinchen Norbu, also from the same village.

Due to the looming risk of another landslide, farmers are discouraged to develop their arable lands to increase its productivity. Instead, they fear losing more of cash crops to the disaster.

“I can confidently say that another landslide will occur. Due to the cracks, the slope is not stable. It would be better if the road’s drainage system is properly constructed along with a retaining wall for the landslide-prone sites. That way, we can save our remaining lands,” said Rinchen Norbu.

“The situation can be addressed if they connect pipes to the streams for a better drainage system. For now, I am yet to repair my cow shed below the road because another landslide will wash it away. Actually, I have all the materials ready for the shed’s maintenance,” added Karma Tshering.

The gewog administration is aware of the problem. It plans to consult the dzongkhag administration for further course of action since the dzongkhag administration manages the GC roads.

“We are first planning to compensate the affected farmers with maize and other crops. However, for the damaged cardamom plants, we will not be able to replace it with cardamom saplings. We also have plans to construct retaining walls and proper drains to prevent such a disaster in the future,” said Sonam Rinchen, the Dechhenling Gup.

Besides the support from the district administration, the gup said, his office is expecting some financial support from the department of disaster management to restore the damaged GC road.

Thinley Dorji

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