Almost a year after the old lhakhang in Drukjeygang, Dagana was demolished, the reconstruction work is yet to begin.

Without a proper place to conduct annual rituals and funerals, the residents of the gewog are becoming impatient. Although the relics of the lhakhang are housed in a big hall adjacent to the old lhakhang, its three big statues are locked in a temporary shed.

Construction materials are already dumped at the site and the dug up foundation trenches have grass growing over it. It is reported that construction works had begun but was suspended immediately.

The lhakhang lam Migma said that the construction was suspended because of some discrepancy in the construction design. Initially, the department of culture had directed to renovate the lhakhang but the gewog administration wanted to reconstruct it into a bigger structure. “The condition was deteriorating and walls were falling apart,” he said.

Following a site visit, the department approved the reconstruction but for the same size only. Lam Migma said the old lhakhang was too small and could not accommodate more than 30 people. “With the increase in population we wanted to construct a lhakhang that will accommodate at least 100 people,” he said.

Recently, the department of culture verbally conveyed that the construction approval would come through soon, Lam Migma said. “We hope to begin construction soon.”

Residents of Drukjeygang said that without the lhakhang it has been difficult for the villagers to conduct funeral rites, annual pujas and other rituals.

One of the villagers, Tshewang said the old lhakhang should not have been demolished until the reconstruction was finalised. “We could have continued to use the old lhakhang,” he said. However, he said that the new one is expected to be built soon.

Meanwhile, dzongkhag media focal person who is also the planning officer Sonam Jamtsho said that the department of culture was not willing to approve the change in structural design because there was no financial assurance.

“Drukjyegang gewog itself gave assurance to manage the budget for the additional (structural expansion) works,” Sonam Jamtsho said. “We’ve forwarded the assurance to the department.”

Although the reconstruction was an 11th Plan activity, the change in structural design delayed it. It is now included in the 12th Plan.

The reconstruction of the lhakhang is expected to cost at least Nu 8.7M. At the moment the gewog administration has about Nu 5.5M.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang