Work in progress on Bayul Dewaling is a month ahead of schedule

GNH: With 70 percent of construction work completed, an interim space for Bayul Dewaling, Bhutan’s Centre for Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Dhingdhima, Bumthang could be in place by the end of June this year.

The centre’s procurement officer, Pema Namgyel said the work progress is ahead by over a month.

Construction of an interim space on less than 0.5 acres of land on the left bank of Chamkharchu  started on September 5 last year.  The interim space will consist of conference, dining and meditation halls.

The interim centre will serve as a space for the centre’s activities until its main centre on the right bank of Chamkharchu is built.

Construction resumed from March 1 this year after work was suspended in December because of unfeasible weather conditions for cement work in Nasphel.

The centre’s executive director, (Dr) Saamdu Chetri, said that two of the three big structures are already roofed.  A meditation hall and another structure that houses the dining hall, kitchen and office were also roofed.

“The third building, supposed to be a conference hall, is also casted with its beams and expected to be roofed within 15-20 days,” he said.

The centre will be inaugurated in October but, while international events will be hosted from next year, at least one youth programme will be held towards the end of the year, he said.  The youth programme will be on living and learning GNH.

The construction materials for the interim structures however, were replaced with cement from mud mortar and to stonemason from its initial plan.

“The materials had to be changed for safety reasons, and to suit the need of a meditation hall with minimal visual hindrance,” (Dr) Saamdu Chetri said.

The new estimated cost is Nu 15M (million) from its earlier projection of Nu 8.9M, but the centre, he said, has enough to meet its costs now.

Meanwhile, the centre has also begun raising funds for the construction of its main centre, drawings for which have already been completed by Japanese architects. “In fact, the architects have already completed the designs for the first three kinds of buildings that house 20 people, and two more buildings with accommodation capacity of 10 people each,” he said.

The same architects are also working on the designs for waste disposal, meditation and conference hall for free.

By Tempa Wangdi, Nasphel