Gasa rabdey faces shortage of monks and logistical issues

DT: Following Gasa Rabdey’s request, the recent dzongkhag tshogdu has decided to inspect the electrification inside Gasa Tashi Thomang dzong.

Gasa Rabdey’s umze Damchoe Thinley said that in 2008, the Kagoen lhakhang was partially burnt in a fire, which occurred due to an electric short circuit.

“Although electrification works were done properly, but the dzong is old and has never been renovated except for the ongoing conservation project and we are worried about short circuits occurring,” he said.

The dzongkhag administration and dzong reconstruction project agreed to do necessary maintenance if required, he said.

The Rabdey also raised concerns on the declining number of monks and the difficulty they face in reaching service to all four gewogs.

“The actual strength of the dzong is 120 monks, but we have only around 65 including lopens,” he said. “Of this, more than 20 monks are as young as seven to 12 years.”

He said the decline in number of monks could be due to not having proper residence currently. Younger monks are staying with lopens and some at Phu-lhakhang above the dzong, while the older ones are staying in the dzong.

The logistical problems are expected to resolve once new drasha’s construction completes, the umze said. Currently the problem is severe, as most structures are old and if struck by an earthquake, the kitchen and other existing structures are likely to collapse.

The Rabdey also requested the government to plan developing the historical Goen Hoptsho dzong, which is around 45 minutes drive from Gasa dzong. The Goen-Hoptsho dzong although a historical one, is today in a state of ruins and fully covered with forest.

“We are also seeing a decline in the number of monks and even those who enrolled tend to drop out after few years,” Khatoed gup Pema Dorji said. “The gewog does not have many children, and most are already enrolled in school.”

Meanwhile, local leaders also requested the government to permit the locals to collect a medical plant called, Dorchu-sertochem.

Khatoed gup Pema said to date it is illegal to collect the medical plant but both local and outsiders were found collecting the plant on a large scale and selling in the black market.

With no proper rules, he said, people were seen collecting it starting February and March, although it could be collected only in September and October. He said people have requested that they be allowed to collect the plant only during its harvest season through permits as it’s done for cordyceps.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue  

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