Gasa dzongkhag administration handed over to the people, the first Community owned Company (CoC), Gasa Soechu, which produces bottled spring water at the Driving Dzongkhag Development Centre (DDDC) on October 8. 

The CoC that produced bottled spring water in glass bottle will bottle the water in both plastic and glass bottle for the sustainability of the company and to meet the market price competition. 

Started with an objective to replace imported bottled water in the dzongkhag, the company aspires to meet the demand of bottled water in the dzongkhag and slowly expand to the rest of the dzongkhags in the country.

Gasa dzongdag, Dorji Dhradhul said it was expensive to produce the bottled water using glass bottles.  “The production of bottled water using plastic bottles is not aligned with Good to Great Gasa’s vision to reduce plastic waste. However, the bigger aim of the day is to achieve competitive market price and for a better revenue,” he said.  

DDDC is considered as the engine of sustainable socio-economic development of Good to Great Gasa with self-reliance as its objective. 

The development of water bottling plant and DDDC began in 2015 and was into operation since August 2017. 

Considering its brand in the country the company is registered as Gasa Soechu Ltd. The people of Gasa own the maximum share of the company’s capital worth Nu 9.9 million. The company is projected to earn profit in the next three years. 

The value of 107 shares distributed by the dzongkhag to 597 households without having to bear any cost is worth Nu 10,700 today. The shares were made available only to the people of the dzongkhag. 

The company will now be operated by a local resident who bought the highest share of the company. The owner invested Nu 3.4 million to secure an ownership through open bidding. 

Manager of the company, Sangay Thinley said there is a need to make people aware of such initiatives because the community is the owner of the company. “They have the responsibility to help the company grow and promote the products. The benefits would come to them in the form of dividends,” he said. “The project, if started by an individual would have been difficult even to get a land clearance. The dzongkhag is sensitive towards environment but producing bottled water using glass bottles was not sustainable.”

DDDC also aims to venture into other programmes like the establishment of community-based tourism, cable TV services, Cottage and Small industries, cordyceps among others. 

The only product of the CoC bottled spring water is associated with Drubthop Terkhungpa’s drupchu (holy water). Drubthop Terkhungpa is the founder of Gasa Tashithongmoen Dzong site in the 12th century. Later in the 16th century, the water was also used as an offering to Ap Gomo, local deity and as soechu of Zhabdrung Rinpoche.

Nima | Gasa