AID: The Indian government has funded the construction of family and officer quarters for police personnel at a cost of Nu 76.4M.

Under the Project Tied Assistance project for infrastructure development, the Indian government’s support will see the construction of 24 units of family quarters and two units of officer quarters at the Changzamtog fire station. This will cost Nu 33.6M.

A four-unit family quarter at the Mothithang fire out post and the construction of fire stations in Paro, Punakha, and Trongsa are also covered under the project.

In 1999, during the eighth Five Year Plan, the Indian government provided Nu 40M for the installation of a fire protection system for the Tashichhodzong, Rinpung, Trongsa, Jakar and Punakha dzongs, and the purchase of fire equipment and pumps for the Mongar, Dagana, Gasa, Trashiyangtse and Zhemgang dzongs.

The Indian government also provided Nu 63.5M for the procurement of 19 fire fighting vehicles which were handed over to the different dzongkhags in 2011.

However, this is the first time the Indian government is providing aid to the RBP for infrastructure development.

The additional chief of police, Chimi Dorji, said the country has lost Wangduephodrang dzong to fire in June 2012, and over the years, many homes and some towns to fire.

“The assistance provided by GOI (Government of India) has not only strengthened our fire fighting capabilities but also will be instrumental in containing fire outbreaks thereby saving lives and properties of many Bhutanese people,” said the additional police chief.

Indian embassy counselor Nina Tshering La said that Bhutan not only has high forest coverage but wood is excessively used in the construction of houses, dzongs, lhakangs, which is a fire hazard. Therefore, the importance of a fire service department cannot be under stated, she pointed out.

“These residential units will contribute in easing the housing shortages of the fire division staffs,” she said.

The Indian embassy counselor, police officials, and representatives from various government agencies attended the ground breaking ceremony yesterday.

By Dechen Tshomo