The argument is that such a move could save Bajo town once the Punatsangchhu projects are completed

Housing: To help Bajo town survive following the completion of the Punatsangchhu hydropower projects, local leaders in Wangdue proposed that Bajo higher secondary school be upgraded to a college.

Raising the issue at the 13th dzongkhag tshogdu held last week, Bajo thromde thuemi, Namgay Rinchen, said upgrading the school to a college would not only benefit Bajo residents but the entire dzongkhag.

The thromde thuemi said the recommendation comes from the people of Bajo, who are concerned about the future of the town. With the majority of the buildings in the town currently occupied by people involved in constructing the two dams, it is likely that these tenants will leave once the projects are completed leaving numerous vacant apartments.

However, having a college in Bajo could make up for the loss in tenants, according to residents of Bajo.

Besides leading to development in Wangdue, having a college in Bajo would also benefit the neighbouring dzongkhags of Punakha, Tsirang and Dagana, it was pointed out.

Athang gup, Khandu Dorji, seconded the thromde thuemi’s proposal and said the school has enough space and facilities to become a college.

While the majority of local leaders seconded the thromde thuemi’s proposal and voted for it, a few proposed another area for a college.

Rubesa gup, Gyeltshen, said that while he is not against the upgrade of Bajo school given the school’s close proximity to the Punatsangchhu, it could be vulnerable to floods. He pointed out that Rubesa would be better suited for a college. He added that the gewog is also willing to provide land if required.

Pointing to the College of Natural Resources at Lobesa which is situated in a small and sloped area, some local leaders said Bajo has more than enough space for a college.

It was also pointed out that following the completion of the new hospital above Rinchengang village, the existing hospital area in Bajo town, which is located near the school will be vacant. If upgraded to a college, this area can be merged with the school or college.

But some local leaders were in favour of converting the Punatsangchhu hydropower project authority-I housing colony at Bjemthangkha into a college rather than the school.

They said that millions of Ngultrums has been spent on the housing colony in Gedu where a similar situation had arose. They said that having a college in the colony would be the best way forward.

However, the Tshogwom mangmi suggested choosing a rural area for the college to prevent further rural-urban migration.

However with the majority in favour of upgrading Bajo school, the dzongkhag tshogdu decided to write to the Prime Minister and education ministry and propose for the upgrade of Bajo higher secondary school to a college.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue