As the monsoon season approaches, officials from Phuentshogling Dungkhag and Thromde are taking proactive steps to prevent landslides in the region. Today, accompanied by dedicated volunteers, these officials initiated a significant effort by planting over three thousand bamboo saplings across approximately three acres of land below the revered Rinchending Monastery.
The area beneath the Rinchending Monastery, popularly known as Kharbandi Goenpa, has long been susceptible to landslides, and the situation remains precarious. Previous incidents of landslides have caused erosion in the car parking area, cracks in the footpaths, and even posed a threat to the nearby Chorten. Alarmed by these events, the monks residing in the monastery fear that similar landslides may occur during this monsoon season.
Lopen Namgay, in charge of the Rinchending Monastery, expressed deep concern over the potential risks, stating, “This area is extremely hazardous. Last year, landslides claimed the lives of two households. With the monsoon’s arrival, any landslide will first affect the Chorten behind me, and then pose a direct threat to the monastery.”
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the monastery sought assistance from the relevant authorities. Although they received some support, the construction of protective walls below the monastery proved ineffective in preventing landslides.
To address this persistent issue, the Dungkhag and Thromde officials have adopted an alternative approach.
“The fragility of this area poses immense risks to the monastery and the neighboring residents. While various measures, such as wall construction, have been attempted in the past without success, we are now trying a plantation-based solution in hopes of achieving better outcomes,” said Karma Jurmi, Phuentshogling Dungpa.
“Climate change affects us all. If we do not act now, the monastery will be severely impacted. Previous measures implemented here have not yielded satisfactory results,” added Uttar Kumar Rai, Phuentshogling Thrompon.
Approximately 200 individuals participated in the plantation initiative, involving the cultivation of different types of bamboo plants, including broom grasses. Officials emphasized that due to the rapid growth and extensive root systems of bamboo, they serve as an effective measure against landslides.
However, some residents in the area remain skeptical about the effectiveness of this measure alone. They believe that the construction of robust safety walls should be prioritized. These concerned individuals are urging the relevant agencies to devise more comprehensive and timely solutions before it is too late.
As the monsoon season looms closer, the collaborative efforts between officials, volunteers, and local communities aim to safeguard the cherished Rinchending Monastery and its surrounding area from the imminent threats posed by landslides.