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Thotney villagers struggle with essential services amidst roadless isolation

Jigmi Wangdi

Residents of Thotney in Samtse’s Tading gewog have long faced significant challenges accessing essential services due to the absence of road connectivity.

The closest road is approximately five kilometres away from the village.

Among the critical services that the villagers lack and urgently require is access to medical facilities.

Currently, villagers must trek to the nearest road to reach the Basic Health Unit (BHU) located in Panbari.

Pravin Chhetri, a resident of Panbari, highlighted the difficulties faced by villagers in reaching the BHU.

He said, “They have to walk for more than an hour to reach the BHU, and in the absence of road access, patients often have to be transported using makeshift bamboo stretchers.”

Pravin emphasised that this situation becomes especially critical during medical emergencies, particularly at night. Furthermore, the journey to the BHU involves crossing several rivers, adding to the risks.

In response to these challenges, Yam Bdr Ghalley, the gup, acknowledged the hardships faced by villagers due to the lack of a proper road and shared plans to address the issue.

He said, “We have already proposed a farm road for the village. The villagers had suggested an alignment that stretches from Pangzhing Wogma, Thakrey Farm Road to Thotney village, covering a distance of approximately six kilometres. However, upon reviewing the alignment, we noticed that the road is situated entirely below their village, which could impact the settlement.”

Yam Bdr Ghalley added that the gewog administration had requested the villagers to consider an alternative alignment from above, specifically from Zochaling to Kholmadara. A site inspection would be revisited to determine the most suitable route, he added.

He said that financial capital activities for the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 are still in the estimation phase. However, he affirmed the commitment to connecting isolated villages like Thotney, Kamaivanjang, and Howri Khola with roads.

Engineers are scheduled to visit the sites for inspection by mid-October, although environmental clearance has not been obtained yet.