The gewog has been dependent on solar energy till now

Service: The wait for electricity in Laya finally came to an end on May 28.

Laya Gup Kinley Dorji said it was a happy day for the Layaps, as a long awaited event had finally occurred.

The Layaps had already begun purchasing electrical equipment as early as 2012.

Gup Kinley Dorji said of more than 300 households, 130 received electricity on May 28. The rest will be lit-up by July. Not all 300 households were able to be electrified as a result of a shortage of cables and meter boxes.

Another factor is also that the majority of the Layaps have left to harvest the lucrative fungi, cordyceps.

The gup said that with electricity, daily chores should become easier, and hygiene and cleanliness will improve. Health is also expected to improve as exposure to smoke will be reduced, he said.

Until now, every household has been dependent on solar energy and firewood. Solar panels cost between Nu 3,000 to Nu 15,000. The smaller ones were used to charge mobile phones and to watch TV. The larger panels were used to light up houses. However, issues with reliability were common, the gup said.

Rural electrification works for Laya started in 2012.

Chogyal construction was awarded the work for Nu 13.6 million and the company was supposed to complete it in a year. But the works remained incomplete even after four years.

Frustrated with the delay, the Layaps raised the issue with the Prime Minister during Gasa’s mid-term review in April. The Layaps had previously raised the issue several times during dzongkhag tshogdus and with the Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) but to no avail.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay assured the Layaps that the gewog will receive electricity by June, this year. Electrification works were completed before the end of May and the Layaps were provided with light by May 28, as assured by the Prime Minister.

A few days after the mid-term review in April, around 2.5km of transmission lines and 28 poles located around 18km from Gasa were damaged. To meet the June deadline,  BPC restored the destroyed lines and provided Laya with power.

However, sources said BPC has written to the Gasa dzongkhag asking for restoration charges.

BPC had earlier also claimed that the contractor working on the Laya road construction (phase-II) had caused the damages on the transmission lines and poles.

So it is not sure who will be paying the restoration charges.

Gup Kinley Dorji said they are also hopeful that payment dues owed to the Layaps by Chogyal construction will also be settled soon as assured by the government.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue