The dzongkhag faces frequent power cuts whenever it rains or there are strong winds, and during the winters

Electricity: To provide faster restoration works and help reduce frequent power fluctuations in Gasa, the dzongkhag has recommended that Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) strengthen its human resources in Gasa.

This recommendation was made during a recent coordination meeting between the dzongkhag administration and regional offices based in Wangdue, Gasa and Punakha.

The dzongkhag has been facing frequent power failures for several years. The power goes off whenever it rains or when there are windstorms, officials said. Power failures are also frequent during the winters.

People residing and working in the dzongkhag use butter lamps, candles or rechargeable batteries, as solar energy is unreliable given the prolonged monsoon and extreme winter weather, officials said. “We can’t depend on generators considering the bad road conditions and road blocks for days, weeks and sometime for months,” an official said.

Gasa Dzongdag Dorji Dhradhul said the BPC office in Gasa is inadequately equipped in terms of skilled manpower, due to which they have to call a team from Punakha whenever there is a problem, which is time consuming and delays repair work.

He said now that Laya is also connected with electricity, the dzongkhag office is in need of skilled human resources to provide speedy and efficient rectification works.

During the coordination meeting, the dzongkhag also requested the Department of Roads (DoR) to accelerate the road-widening works and improve road conditions. This will encourage private individuals to come up with bus services to Gasa, officials said.

While the dzongkhag also requested the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) to establish a base office in Gasa, RSTA said it is not feasible at present due to the size of the population, road conditions and the number of vehicles in the dzongkhag. However, RSTA ensured that services including emission, vehicle fitness, and roadworthiness tests, and documents renewal will be offered in Gasa shortly.

The coordination meeting was held to enhance interaction, cooperation and collaboration between the dzongkhag and regional offices, said Dzongdag Dorji Dhradhul.

Meanwhile the road from Punakha to Gasa is still closed and will remain so until the end of August.

The road was closed to traffic on August 10 after a portion of the road at Domipangchu, which is about 20km away from Gasa Dzong, gave way following a landslide.

Dzongdag Dorji Dhradhul said: “We could have used the road but there is risk for people plying on that particular stretch, therefore, the dzongkhag along with public and the DoR decided to keep it closed till the completion of restoration works.”

He said currently the vehicles could ply till Damji, from where people have to walk and transship goods to the other side.

The dzongdag said despite the roadblock there was no disruption in the ongoing chiwog zomdus for the upcoming local government election.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue