Nima | Gelephu

Residents of Hariyo Muga in Gakiling, Sarpang, who were told that their homes would be connected with electricity next year, are worried if the ongoing project would complete on time.

Works on the rural electrification, which was tendered to a private contractor in October last year, stopped abruptly after the nationwide lockdown and movement restriction across the country.

Local residents say they waited for electricity for so long.

Hariyo Muga is among the last villages in Sarpang that remained off-grid for decades although the village is only three kilometres away from the Tsirang-Sarpang national highway near Darachhu.

A villager, Norbu Sherpa, said work stopped for almost a year now.

He said procuring things in lockdown could be difficult but electrification would be a big change in the community. “For now, we will have to continue living without lights.”

Like other elderlies in the community, Norbu Sherpa, waited to see his village connected with electricity.

There are more than 21 households in Hariyo Muga.

Bhutan Power Corporation’s (BPC) junior engineer, Tara Bir Ghalley, said workers couldn’t return to work after the lockdown and because of seven days quarantine.

“Many are planning to return but they are hesitant to travel to the high-risk area because of seven days quarantine while moving out,” he said. “The major work left is to install a transformer and earthing works. Almost 85 percent of the work is completed.”

The electrification work is done at the cost of Nu 4.9 million and the contract duration ends by January next year.

There are more than 120 households from 13 villages in Sarpang without electricity.

BPC officials say almost all households would be connected with electricity by 2021.

The electrification project is carried out under the auspices of JICA’s on-grid rural electrification project that helped most rural villages get electricity supply in the country.