PHPA: Punatsangchu Hydropower Project Authority will compensate at least 107 houses in three gewogs of Daga, Rubesa and Gasey Tshog-gom in Wangdue for damages their houses suffered due to blasting.

The compensation has come through four years after the villagers complained. Villagers of Daga and Gasey Tshog-gom gewogs complained of cracks on their houses and drying up of water sources due to blasting at the project site in 2011.

Last year, the villagers of Ula gewog also filed an official complaint with both the project authority and dzongkhag administration after their initial requests to reduce the intensity of blasting at the site went unheard.

While 123 households from three gewogs had filed the complaint, 16 houses were found ineligible for compensation, as the damages were not even assessable, dzongkhag administration officials said.

The reports were compiled based on an inventory of damages conducted by gups and gewog administration officials who physically verified the damages.

Following the reports, the dzongkhag administration also conducted a blasting intensity measurement in November 2014. To conduct the intensity, an executive engineer from Mangdechu hydropower project was hired along with the ground vibration monitoring equipment.

Based on the dzongkhag administration’s assessment, the project would have to pay Nu 602,763 including cost index to the affected households. The highest compensation amounts to Nu 24,179 for a house in Uma village while the lowest is Nu 1,116 for a villager in Pasakha.

Revenue officer, Yeshey Dorji said the damages were assessed in percentage as per rural house insurance scheme guidelines. The damages were categorised into external wall, internal walls, ground floor, first and second floor, ceilings and flooring. The compensation includes damages to houses and an irrigation channel at Masekha in Gasey Tshog-gom gewog.

Although farmers in Ula had also complained about their paddy fields being affected, compensation towards this was not mentioned in the dzongkhag’s report.

Project officials said the project would compensate as per the norms and directives from the dzongkhag administration.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue