Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

The first water project executed under the DeSuung National Service on November 11, 2020 in Guma gewog, Punakha, was inaugurated on September 25.

Her Royal Highness Princess Chimi Yangzom Wangchuck, the chief guest, inaugurated the water project. Residents of five chiwogs of Guma gewog, de-suups, and officials attended the programme.

The project will benefit more than 225 households and about 1,945 people in the gewog. The design includes capacity provisions for an additional 1,250 people to benefit in the future.

According to a press release issued by the Royal Office for Media, the project was inspired by the Royal Address of His Majesty The King to the nation on September 12 last year, calling on the youth to engage meaningfully in the process of nation-building amidst the pandemic. “The Royal Address highlighted the potential for the youth to develop water projects in consideration of the importance of safe, reliable drinking water for the people and the nation.”

A farmer, Namgay Tshering, said that prior to the completion of the project, his house located in Zomlingthang had neither a water tap nor a proper source of drinking water.

He added that drinking water was fetched from the Mochhu river.

As part of the project, more than 120 tap stands were  constructed in the gewog.

The water sourced from the Jabab Menchu stream will benefit Phulingsoom, Changyuel-Thara, Tashijong, and Docha Ritsa chiwogs.

More than 70 desuups volunteered for the first water project. A few civilians and Royal Bhutan Army personnel also took part in the project. 

The press release stated that the desuups also gained valuable technical experience in the design, construction, and supervision of a fairly complex construction project. “De-Suups were trained in mechanised construction methods and introduced to higher quality construction standards.”

It stated that the project was the first time most young desuups had undertaken such physically demanding work, especially in challenging circumstances like thick forests, leech-infested swamps, and precarious ledges in the summer heat and monsoon rains.

The officer-in-charge of the project, Captain Tshering Dorji, commended the dedication, enthusiasm, and ‘esprit de corps’ (group morale) of the volunteers, which instilled immense energy on a regular basis.

He added said the stamina of the de-suups to undertake and complete a big project spanning over 10 months inspired all other people engaged in the project to work even harder.

The press release stated that, inspired by a powerful Royal vision, the youth stepped forward, shouldered their responsibilities, and delivered what many would have considered impossible a year ago.

“As we celebrate the completion of the Guma water project led by the de-suups, we also celebrate the capabilities and potential of our youth to undertake even more challenging projects in the country, and to build our nation despite all the limitations posed by the current Covid-19 pandemic,” it stated.

After the first project began on November 11 last year, the DeSuung National Service has undertaken 25 projects across Bhutan, out of which 12 projects have been completed and handed over to local governments and communities. Other projects are in various stages of completion.

Edited  by Tashi Dema