Like in many districts, Tsirang is also grappling with the social issue- Gungtong or absentee household. With 127 households, Barshong Gewog accounts for highest number of gungtongs in the district.
From five chiwogs in Barshong, Barshong Maed has the highest number of empty houses. Homes have remained locked for years and fields have turned into forests. Some villagers, who are residing in the village, say they are bearing the brunt of this.
“Wild animals enter the farms and cause harm. We don’t know where they have gone,” said one of the villagers, Ashok Bahadur.
Others shared similar concerns. “When there is community event or work, we face difficulty in providing assistance because we have to guard our farms from wild animals,” added Lal Bahadur.
Village Tshogpa, Man Bdr. Powdel said since the village has all the required amenities, there is no reason for them to abandon their home and go in search of greener pastures somewhere else.
He added: “We have electricity and road till the doorsteps. There is no issue of drinking water scarcity. We have farmers without farm lands and if absentee households don’t return here, it would benefit the landless people.”
The gewog officials said due to this issue, they face difficulty calling villagers for important public events and tax collection. With nothing done yet to resolve the issue, official are now anticipating to come up with a solution.
Locals say some house owners visit their homes once in a while but leave again. The number of guntongs has been escalating with each passing year in the gewog.