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Gasa Dzongkhag is remote no more. It is connected with all the major infrastructures like road, electricity and communication. This has brought numerous changes to the people of Gasa and civil servants there.
Gasa has a national sub-highway. Electricity and mobile services have reached the Dzongkhag.
With the road, Gasaps no more have to walk for more than three days to reach Gasa from Tashithang.
“In the past we used to take about four days to reach Gasa and that also with loads on our back. Today we don’t have to carry loads as vehicles ply the road. We now have safe drinking water, electricity and road,” says Ap Thinley.
The road connectivity has not only benefited the people of Kha-Toe and Kha-Moed Gewogs, but Laya Gewog as well. The Gewog is two days walk from proper Gasa. Layaps migrate to Punakha and Wangdue valleys transporting rice and other household essentials during winter.
“We are grateful for having road till Gasa. In the past we walked from Punakha. By the time we reach Gasa, we would run short of ration as we had to halt many nights on our way,” remembers Kinely Dorji, a Lunap.
The people of Gasa mostly depend on agriculture and livestock for their daily subsistence. In the past, they said, they had to live hand to mouth, as the produce were barely enough for self consumption. But now, they said things have change. Mass potato cultivation has helped them cash in more money.
“The main source of income for us is cultivating potatoes. This was made possible by having access to road. Some they market to Punakha and Wangdue. Some even take their produce to Phuentsholing,” says Gempo Gyeltshen.
Before, most people would depend on tourists. “In the past we depend on daily wage by transporting loads for Dzongkhag and civil servants. We did minimal farm cultivation as nothing much is able to harvest due to wild animals,” said Tenzin.
They have road access. Now, the people want public transport buses to ply on the road. They said this would benefit them. They even submitted a petition to the Dzongkhag Yargye Tshogdu. But nothing concrete has come out of it. “We have submitted our appeal to Dzongkhag three times for the need of a public transport service. But due to bad condition of the road and less population, no company wants to operate,” said Kinley Penjor.
“If bus service is introduced, it should be from the private. But thinking there won’t be any profit for them no one is coming forward. If government could look into the matter, we would be very grateful,” said another local resident, Tenzin.
To travel by taxis is expensive for them. From Gasa to Punakha, each passenger has to pay between Nu. 300 to 350 as fare. “Traveling by taxi is too expensive and we cannot afford. The fare we are paying can travel thrice to Thimphu from Punakha,” said one resident.
“It is very difficult to get vehicle. If we come by taxi, they charge between Nu. 1300-1500. If there is bus service, it will benefit us in many ways,” said another.
Most of them said that if there is transport service once or twice in a week, they can get their organic vegetables to the nearest market.
The Dzongkhag has four Gewogs and about 537 households.