For a more sustainable transport system, the information and communications ministry will soon install about six electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the country.

Currently, there are five charging stations in the country, which are being used by close to 100 electric vehicles (EVs). Looking at the current trend of increasing fuel-reliant vehicles, greenhouse gas emission is likely to be higher, affecting climate and environment.

Although the existing stations are suitable for the number of EVs, it did not support the government’s aim to promote low carbon emission vehicles.

This was one of the eight projects that the Bhutan Trust Fund for Environment Conservation (BTFEC) approved. The grant agreement was signed on January 4 in Thimphu.

The eight projects were worth Nu 90.63 million (M) together. 

This was done as part of the BTFEC’s mandate to finance conservation programmes in the country. 

The trust fund received about 69 project proposals.

The selected projects include watershed management at Dop Shari in Paro, sustainable management of non-wood forests products, the national floral diversity conservation, strengthening forest fire management through participatory approach, conservation of critically endangered white-bellied heron, strengthening and promoting glue laminated timber technology, and clean, green, and beautiful urban spaces for sustainable development.

Director of BTFEC, Pema Choephyel, said that the trust fund was mandated to ensure social welfare through the conservation of flora, fauna and ecosystem of the country. “We are the only national donors for the environment. We are one of the very first environmental funds created in the world.”

He said that an independent committee called the technical advisory panel (TAP) assessed the project proposals. “We have to monitor at least twice in each project period. The projects will have to be implemented by July this year.”

These projects have to be completed within three years. The maximum ceiling per project is Nu 15M.

Pema Choephyel said that every six months, the implementing agencies would have to send a report about the state of the implementation activities. “Implementing agencies will have to submit annual work plan. Only then, the money is dispersed according to the requirement.”

He said that two projects focused on adaptation, two on mitigation, three on the security, and one on the social wellbeing.

Before the implementation of the projects, BTFEC conducts an orientation programme.

Director of Gross National Happiness Commission, Rinchen Wangdi, said that all the projects were critically important. “These projects are the priority areas. Out of agriculture and forests ministry, we have also approved a project from information and communications ministry. Wherever possible, we want to complement and support these kinds of projects.”

Every year, the trust fund allocates about USD 2M as grants.

Rinchen Zangmo