Power cuts hampered public service delivery

Erratic power supply irks Jomotsangkha residents

There was a power cut in Jomotsangkha last week and residents say it is going to be worse in the coming months.

Local residents are even questioning Bhutan Power Corporation’s (BPC) target for rural electrification since it does not serve the purpose when it is most needed.

A resident, who do not want to be named, said the local people need electricity in summer when temperatures soar but that is when it is most erratic.

During the power blackouts, service delivery is hampered since public offices like the basic health unit (BHU), Bhutan Development Bank, Bhutan Telecom and other offices cannot function.

The medical officer of Jomotsangkha BHU, Dr Narayan Rizal, said although the hospital tries to manage by using backup light from the Indian state of Assam, it is also unreliable.

It was learnt that around 25 expecting mothers, who are scheduled for ultrasound last week, could not avail the service because of power blackout.

Residents of Langchenphu, Lauri, and Serthi gewogs say they are fed up with the erratic power supply.

A resident, Tashi Wangdi, said it’s a pity that no one is doing anything with the erratic power supply in the locality although the problem existed for a long time.

He said since the officials cannot detect the problem since the electricity lines are connected through dense forest. “Officials risk their lives to detect the fault but it is difficult.”

Erratic power supply is also affecting business people.

A restaurant owner, Pema Zangmo, 35, said she depends on gas or firewood to cater to her customers most of the time since power is unreliable. “I have to close the restaurant at times.”

BPC officials say heavy downpour and strong winds delay the restoration works of power lines. “Since the power transmission cables are installed in places without  road connectivity, we have to wade across the swollen rivers and travel through dense forests to fix it.”

Kelzang Wangchuk |  Jomotsangkha

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