Energy: The completion of construction of over 2,000 biogas plants in the country was celebrated in Gelephu yesterday. Masons, gewog agriculture extension officers and dzongkhag officials received certificates, biogas stoves and cash prizes.

A total of 2,172 biogas plants have been constructed in 13 dzongkhags so far. About 1,356 pants will be constructed by the end of the 11th Plan.

Samtse, the highest achiever, constructed 453 biogas plants in the first phase. The dzongkhag was awarded cash prize of Nu 10,000.

The second phase that started from 2014 went on until November 2015. Samdrupjongkhar, the highest achiever, won certificate and cash prize for constructing 257 biogas plants.

Director General of Department of Livestock, Dr Tashi Samdrup, said that biogas programme was introduced in Bhutan in 2011 with support from Asian Development Bank to reduce destruction of forests and to bring down greenhouse gas emissions.

“To implement that the project is taken to high-altitude places. One 8 CuM biogas plant in Bumthang and two 6 CuM plants in Haa,” he added.

Project director, Dorji Gyaltshen, said that biogas reduces fossil and fuelwood consumption, reduces expenditures on purchase of LPG gas, and mitigates greenhouse gas emissions.

“It also reduces smoke-borne diseases, particularly acute respiratory infection, and improves sanitation and hygiene,” said Dorji Gyaltshen.

The plant helps improve diary production agricultural productivity through use of bio-slurry as organic manure. The use of bio-slurry also prevents degradation of land fertility.

Naina Singh Limbu, a mason from Samtse who was trained in 2011 and has so far constructed 54 biogas plants, was also awarded certificate and prize.

“I earn about Nu 6,000 from a single project. It has become an important source of income for me,” said Naina Singh Limbu. He has already started training his 14-year-old son how to construct a biogas plant. “That way, he will have something to do even if he doesn’t qualify for further studies.”

Bakta Bahadur Pulami, a 40-year-old mason from Sarpang, said that people are showing great interest in biogas plant. Bakta Bahadur from Gakidling Gewog has constructed about 54 biogas plants. He was trained in 2012.

The government in 2014 selected Chhukha, Samtse, Sarpang, Tsirang, Dagana, Lhuntse, Mongar, Pemagatshel, Tashigang, Tashiyangtse, Samdrupjongkhag as potential districts to started biogas project.

Yeshey Dema, Gelephu