Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar 

Jomotshangkha Drungkhag in Samdrupjongkhar has been without electricity for more than a week. 

Public services such as financial institutions, however, have not been affected as they use backup generator. 

According to the local government (LG) leaders, they have not been able to provide any services to the people from the gewog centres without electricity. 

“It’s high time for the authorities concerned to come up with a solution to fix the issues in the drungkhag,” one of the LG leaders said. 

Langchenphu gup, Guman Singh Gaylal, said the drungkhag frequently experiences blackouts; the issue was raised several times in the dzongkhag tshogdu. “We cannot communicate and exchange information because our phones are dead without electricity.” 

The gup said that the gewog centres in the drungkhag were open but could not provide services to people. “It would also significantly impact our annual performance agreement (APA) as it hampers official works.” 

Residents said they could not avail services like census registration, insurance claims for death and timber permission. “How long would the drungkhag have to face frequent light issues?” 

“Our main problem is the health service. Without light, we cannot avail health services such as X-rays and ultrasound because the generator in the hospital cannot support such services,”a resident said. 

Residents said the Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) told them they would carry out the electricity line realignment after the Jomotshangkha- Samrang highway is connected but the BPC has not yet started the work. 

Jomotshangkha drungpa, Lamdra Wangdi, said that it was challenging for the officials to detect the defaults as the existing electricity lines are along the international border through the dense forest, adding that the current poles are short and easily get covered by the bushes. 

“The authorities concerned such as the BPC should realign the electricity lines with the HT poles along the road to address the electricity issues in the drungkhag,” Lamdra Wangdi said. 

The BPC officials said they were carrying out the restoration work but could not detect the default; 18 HT poles are needed in certain areas, and the budget for the re-alignment has been approved but could not award the works due to the pandemic and lockdowns. 

BPC is expected to award the electricity line re-alignment and HT polls installation works by June and July this year.