Three years ago, the residents of Nabar-Philuma Chiwog in Samdrup Jongkhar’s Orong Gewog were delighted with the completion of a 15-kilometre farm road leading to their village. The farm road was expected to alleviate their struggles of a three-hour-long walk to their village. However, without a motorable bridge over the Gamtshelo River, local communities have yet to reap benefits from the farm road. Villagers are now urging the Orong Gewog Administration to address this critical issue to unlock the road’s potential and improve connectivity.
The lack of a bridge has made it extremely difficult for the villagers to use farm road, particularly during the monsoon season when the Gamtshelo River swells.
They are forced to follow an ancient track and endure a tiresome uphill trek of almost three hours to reach their chiwog.
“Without a bridge, we are facing problems. We need a bridge here. We used to cultivate vegetables, but without a bridge, we are not able to take them to market. All we need is one motorable bridge here,” said Jigme Dorji, a villager.
“During emergencies, we have to carry patients, be it day or night. The ambulance is also unable to come in the absence of a bridge, so we have to carry the patient,” said Pethey, another villager.
“We have a road, but without a bridge, we have to walk while carrying things on our back. During summers, we have to carry patients without a bridge. If we cultivate vegetables, we are not able to sell them. So, getting one bridge will be helpful to us,” said Zangpo, who is also a villager.
According to Orong Gup Pema Gyelpo, the construction of a bridge over the Gamtshelo River was not planned before due to the instability of the farm road.
The Gup added that the road is now stable, and there are plans to construct the much-needed bridge.
“This year, in the first year of the 13th Five-Year-Plan, the Gewog administration has allocated a budget of Nu 3 M to construct the foundation of the bridge. After the completion of the foundation, we will propose a budget annually for the bridge construction work. For example, during the first year, we will propose Nu 5 M, and in the next year, we will again propose for Nu 5 M.”
Nabar-Philuma Chiwog has more than 50 households with a population of 150 people.
Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar
Edited by Sherub Dorji