Villagers not happy with renovation of irrigation channel – Sertsho Chiwog, T/Yangtse

The people of Sertsho Chiwog at Toedtsho Gewog in Trashi Yangtse faced an irrigation water shortage for about five years due to a leakage in the irrigation channel. But much to their relief, the water flagship programme started constructing a new channel and renovating some stretches along the old channel, last year. However, recently, villagers are not happy with the renovation work along 500 metres long stretch since the size of the irrigation channel was reduced.

The Kheshung irrigation channel is seven-kilometre-long and it was constructed some four decades ago. Under the water flagship programme, some part of the irrigation channel is being newly constructed while some stretches are under renovation.

The work is divided into two packages. One package includes the renovation of a 2.5-kilometre channel worth Nu 6.8 M. The other contract includes the construction of a 1.74-kilometre irrigation channel, reservoir and distribution lines, and the renovation of 500 metres of the old irrigation channel costing Nu 6.8 M.

And the people of Sertsho Chiwog are not happy with this 500-metre stretch. They claim that the size of the irrigation channel has been reduced while renovating.

They said the previous irrigation channel has a width of 50 cm and a height of 55 cm. But now it is being renovated with a 30 cm width and 30 cm height.

Currently, the villagers have asked the contractor to stop the renovation work as they wrote to Dzongda.

“If the irrigation channel is small, the water might overflow and there are chances of flashflood in the village. About a decade ago, a flash flood occurred. If the size is small, it will affect us,” said Cheki Dorji, a resident.

“We grow potatoes but they could not grow on time due to water shortage. Without water, most paddy fields have been left fallow, and only three to four households cultivate paddy. And they have to depend on rainwater. If we have enough water supply, we can grow vegetables and other crops even in winter,” said Kezang, another resident.

“After discussing with the people, I wrote the letter recently.  So far, we have not received any response either from the district or engineering sector and Gewog. We are hopeful that they will consider our request,” said Tharchen, Sertsho Tshogpa.

According to the district’s site engineer, the district tender committee will visit the site within a week. The engineer added that they have consulted the villagers when they were carrying out the survey.

The project is carried out under the Water Flagship Programme. The work began in July last year and is expected to be complete by June this year.

It will benefit around 200 households of four Chiwogs of Toedtsho Gewog irrigate more than 60 acres of land.

Sonam Darjay, Trashi Yangtse

Edited by Tshering Zam

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