Tender documents are still being evaluated and a license is awaited too

Hydropower:The Kholongchu hydro project in Trashiyangtse is yet to pick up pace.  Although expected to begin in January, construction of infrastructure for the 600MW project has not started.

At the moment, tender documents, which were opened in November last year, are still being evaluated. “We’re evaluating the tender documents in detail, which is taking time. But the project is also yet to obtain the construction license,” project manager, DK Khandal said.

Which means, even if the tender evaluation were complete, construction of infrastructures would begin only after obtaining the construction license.

Currently, project officials are coordinating with Trashiyangtse dzongkhag officials in surveying the substitute plots that would be provided to landowners, whose land would be affected by the project’s new roads.

The affected landowners are from the four gewogs of Khamdang, Yangtse, Tomzhang and Jamkhar.

Land record officer, Jigme Tenzin, said the dzongkhag had consulted the affected landowners a couple of months back, and that they were given options for either compensation or land substitution. “Land survey for Khamdang gewog is complete and we’re now surveying at Tomzhang,” he said.

However, affected landowners said that finding a good substitute land within the gewog was difficult.

“Most of the fertile land are already taken and we have to manage with whatever’s available,” a landowner from Tomzhang, Ningpo, said. “It might become difficult to make a living from the substitute land, and a lot of people in my gewog opted for compensation.”

There is no controversy about land substitution as of today, and villagers are supportive of the project coming up in the dzongkhag, although they feel it is taking a lot of time to start.

“We’ve been hearing about the project for over a decade now and constructions were supposed to begin in 2014. The project should have started by now,” Tsheten Khandu from Khamdang said.

Once the works are awarded, construction of about 40km projects roads will commence.  The overall cost for the road construction is estimated at Nu 689M (million) and it will take about a year to complete.

Meanwhile, the project has also not decided whether it will go with the idea of having an integrated housing colony at Khetsang, or rent houses there to be used as staff quarters.

“Once the management is formed, it would be for them to decide on this,” DK Khandal said.

By Tshering Wangdi Trashiyangtse