Leech buster

Thank you for participating in Big Picture -12. It was fun to follow your comments – most of you recognized the picture, but you still spent the time to craft interesting answers. Thank you.

My favorite answer comes from “Thinlay”, whose keen sense of observation, meticulous research and precise composition bags our prize: bragging rights! Here’s the scholar’s complete and  completely correct answer:

It is a white plastic bottle with narrow neck and closed with modified wooden cap, and tied around the waist to ensure that it does not fall off while walking. The content could be anything from alcohol to insects (including leech) killing potion concocted with ingredients ranging from herbal extract to lime, acid, salt to tobacco solution. It is carried by people who have to walk through, work or live around the tropical forests.

The complete picture shows Budhalal Rai of Yaba village in Sombaykha with his “pep-say”, a container carrying a strong solution of tobacco, lime and salt. Budhalal Rai, like his fellow villagers, carries the contraption throughout the rainy season and uses the potent mixture to easily and effectively remove leeches that climb up on him.

So far, however, Budhalal has found little reason to use his pep-say. It hasn’t been raining in his village, so the leeches are staying put. In fact, it hasn’t been raining in most parts of Bhutan. The rains this year are very late, and have caused drought-like conditions in much of Bhutan with disturbing reports coming in from  Trashigang, Trashiyantse, Lhuntse, Pemagatshel, Tsirang, the South and the western dzongkhags.

But our farmers don’t have a choice. Rain or no rain, they must do their work. Our farmers are doing their part. They are working their fields. And they are praying for rain.

We need to do our part too. If the rains don’t arrive, and don’t arrive soon, we will need to go on a war footing throughout our country to save our crops. If that fails, we will need to quickly come up with new ideas to grow alternate crops.  And if that fails, we will need to start preparing to fight a nation wide food shortage.

Whatever it is, we need to act now. We must act now, unless it rains, and the leeches come out, and Budhalal and farmers throughout the country dab them with pep-say.


Facebook Comments:


  1. I fully share OL concern about lack or scanty rain when it should be a regular fall around this time of the year. Monsoon, according to Indian meteorology Department, is late this year. I join OL to pray for rain and hope our farmers overcome the difficulties they are facing.

    I would like share one observation with OL and request him if he could help. Recently, a team from MOAF was in Sobaykha, Gakiling, Dungtoe and Dorakha geog to monitor Cardamom rehabilitation project initiated by the MOAF. We met Mangi Aap Samdrup from Mochu village and he told us that rope-way across Mochu river became nonfunctional and people on both sides of the river are having difficulties when they have to travel to geog center. With this rope way, travel time between Mochu, Rangtsi, Lawakha and other villages to Somayama geog center is shorten by several hours. Villagers do not have to travel via suspension bridge (located faraway towards north of Mochu Village) that takes almost a day from Mochu to Sombay Ama. I hope OL could help MangiAap Samdrup to repair or replace the broken down rope-way.

    Thanks and Cheers

  2. Dear Thinlay,

    During my last visit to Sombaykha, MangAp Samdrup told me that he had reported about the the damaged rope-way to Hon’ble PM, and that PM had agreed to help.

    I’m in touch with MangAp Samdrup, and it looks like orders for the damaged components have been placed. So I am hopeful that the rope-way will be repaired soon. If it isn’t, I’ll order the parts myself, directly.

    Thank you for raising this important issue. The rope-way is, like you mention, extremely important for the people on both sides of the river.


  3. newcomer says

    Hon’ble OL,

    I understand on the updates from MangAp Samdrup, the orders for the damaged components seemed to have been already placed by the government. That’s indeed good news if Ap Samdrup’s statement holds water. But, did you check this with the government? If so, where have the government reached on these parts ordering business and when exactly can the work on the repair of the ropeway take place?

    In keeping with the Ap Samdrup’s statement, if the government indeed had placed the orders, then, don’t you think you should thank the Hon’ble PM on behalf of the people under your constituency?

    Furthermore, you also mentioned that in the event if otherwise -you are going to order it through one of your personal schemes. Can you elaborate a bit more on this personal scheme that you are intending to bring into action, because if found workable, I think, other MPs could also replicate this idea and may be, study its applicability in their constituencies too in the areas where government supports were lacking.

  4. Hon’ble OL,

    I have only asked a very simple question to you. I am still eagerly waiting for an answer. I hope you will ask this question to the government in the NA and inform the nation accordingly on where things relating to the rope way repairs stand. After all, we see this matter as something of a greater importance concerning the disadvantaged people in your constituency and therefore, feel that it merits your top priority by virtue of you being the MP representing that constituency.

    And, also please do not forget into sharing some of your thoughts on the personal pet project that you talked about. I am truly intrigued into knowing more along these lines. By directly, are you going to sacrifice your salary or intending to avail loans for this noble cause. If so, this would be a good example you would be setting and I think, other MPs could also follow suit this approach as one of the options when the government supports are not lavishly forthcoming. Therefore, let’s hear your views on the matter.

  5. The spare parts in question cost about Nu 30,000. The Dzongkhag authorities tried to purchase the spares, but for various reasons, including the fact that they could not get Indian rupees, they could not order the parts from Kolkata.

    MangAp Samdrup has reported to the cabinet, and I have no reason to doubt that the parts will come through.

    If, for whatever reason, the spare parts still do not arrive, I will order them myself, using my own resources.

  6. newcomer says

    Hon’ble OL,
    At the outset, I would like to thank you for sharing this piece of information with us. I appreciate this quality of yours for at least making out your precious time in responding to our concerns – even amidst this hour of the NA’s busy time. I, once again, thank you earnestly.

    Having said this, on close observation of your statements here, I, for some reasons, could not fully concur with the views as expressed by Your Excellency and therefore, hold my reservations on the following areas. In this context, I seek Your Excellency’s further clarification as highlighted hereunder:

    OL wrote “The spare parts in question cost about Nu 30,000. The Dzongkhag authorities tried to purchase the spares, but for various reasons, including the fact that they could not get Indian rupees, they could not order the parts from Kolkata.”

    Hon’ble OL,

    I understand at all times you are known to be giving your highest importance on the need why enhanced public delivery service should be the national development priority area and against this backdrop, how do you view this incident of the Haa Dzongkhag vis-à-vis the case in point (rope way repairs) in your constituency.

    Did you truly believe the Dzongkhag version of the hindrance explanation?

    If so, what initiatives had been taken by you as a concerned MP into solving this sheer rupees 30,000 non-availability aspect?

    We are now given the impression into believing that while the Dzongkhag has the funds, however, owing to the RMA’s strict rupee restrictions, things were delayed?

    If that was so, did you advise them of making the spare parts payment to the supplier in Kolkata through the banking channel which I believe has no restriction per se?

    I think it is now running close to one and half months since this matter was first reported to the Hon’ble PM, upon which , it appears that some sort of directions has gone to the Dzongkhag for action.

    When this was a matter relating to the development of your own constituency, did you at any point of time felt the need into following up on the matter under some urgent footings?

    Worst still, going by your statement, you sound as though there still exists ample time and can afford another long wait kind of mentality.

    OL wrote “MangAp Samdrup has reported to the cabinet, and I have no reason to doubt that the parts will come through.
    If, for whatever reason, the spare parts still do not arrive, I will order them myself, using my own resources.”

    I had repeatedly requested you to raise this question to the government in the NA and get their straightforward answer for once and all. However, you chose to use ONLY MangAp Samdrup as the medium between you and the government.

    Frankly, don’t you think this so called imaginary personality barriers now in this real world are coming as stumbling blocks on the path to swift public delivery service?

  7. newcomer says

    Hon’ble OL,
    Today, I think, you have raised a very pertinent question on the rupee shortage issue and why the government institutions like RMA and the Finance Ministry should be held accountable? The FM’s reply relating to the blanket credit banning aspect was not convincing.People at ground zero mostly at the lower levels of our society are suffering and that’s true.

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