Acknowledging the importance of hydropower sector and bilateral relations with India, the Cabinet issued an executive order on May 15 establishing a hydropower committee with a mandate to develop a clear, robust, and consistent policy that will be driven by the overall long-term interest of the country.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of Druk Holding and Investments (DHI), Dasho Karma Yezer Raydi, is the chairperson of the committee. Members include Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, CEO of Druk Green Power Corporation, Dasho Yeshey Wangdi, secretary of economic affairs ministry, GNHC secretary Thinley Namgyel, and Karma Yonten from His Majesty’s Secretariat.

The committee is also given the task to draw a hydropower strategy in the immediate and medium terms.

“The GoI has continued to support Bhutan’s goals in hydropower development, as also in other sectors, which has led to further strengthening the close and warm relations between the government and people of Bhutan and India,” the order stated.

However, it also stated that absence of a clear strategy on hydropower development has led to serious concerns and the emergence of differing views among important stakeholders about the future of hydropower development.

Amid several issues and challenges in achieving an ambitious target of 10,000MW by 2020, the order stated that negative media coverage and public perception caused by the absence of a strategy could affect the larger and more important friendship between Bhutan and India.

Sources said that the committee could not do much work as yet since it was only established a month ago.

The committee is required to submit a report along with recommendations to the government at the earliest.

Tshering Dorji