Male Iron Rat Year

Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

Wangdue dzongkhag administration implemented smooth lockdown procedures, an achievement for the dzongkhag last year.

Development activities were not impacted in Wangdue due to the pandemic. Services were taken to the doorsteps of the people. Banking services and shopping routines were made easy with efficient pick and drop services.

Stranded people were provided vehicles to reach their destination without much hassle.

On the first day of the lockdown, close to 1,000kg of rice was delivered. As lockdown continued, Wangdue began supplying vegetable and dairy products to other dzongkhags.

Despite the pandemic, the milk processing units (MPUs) in the dzongkhag were kept running with strict safety protocols so that there is no shortage of dairy products, especially in the western parts of Bhutan.

The Wangdue Dzong reconstruction project workers went on to meet their work progress as scheduled even as there was a shortage of workers due to the pandemic and lockdown. Pay and allowance rise attracted Bhutanese youth to join the project.

However, the same couldn’t be said for the two mega projects based in Wangdue.

While Punatsangchhu Hydroelectric Project I (PI) continued to struggle with issues related to the right bank of the dam, PII had to deal with labour shortage.

Although challenged with the movement restrictions placed, the two governments and the Indian embassy managed to meet the worker’s demands.

At PI, a third-party review was also initiated to study the feasibility of the construction of the dam. At PII, plans to recruit Bhutanese with better benefits and payments were put in place.

Almost 2,500 workers are required optimally, but the number had dropped to less than 1,300 by November at PII. Through the new recruitment process, around 350 Bhutanese were recruited.

Despite the recruitment, Bhutanese workers leaving work is still a challenge.