Locals loth to contribute labour to conservation project

Gasa Dzong: The issue of Gasa people not contributing labour for the dzong conservation project was raised again at the recent dzongkhag tshogdue (DT).

More than six months after the conservation work started, project manager Kinley Gyeltshen had raised the need of labour contribution during the fifth DT last August.  Local leaders had then has agreed to contribute labour.

However, to date, except for two people, who were recruited as permanent workers for the project, there has been zero labour contribution from the people of Gasa.

To help resolve the labor shortage problem this month the project recruited 30 non-Bhutanese.  The project now has 150 workers (skilled and non skilled), including 24 open-air prisoners and 30 non-Bhutanese.

Getting timber was another issue, the project manager said. The timber for dzong conservation is brought from Sha-Gogona and Khotokha in Wangduephodrang, which takes a day to reach Gasa.

To get timber from Gasa is a lengthy process  because the area falls under the park. 

Local leaders said the main problem was due to Gasa’s population and the geographical location.  Two of the four gewogs, Laya and Lunana, are situated at places, which take more than four days on foot.

However, Kinley Gyeltshen said local leaders, especially Khatey gup, who is also the DT thrizeen, agreed to initiate volunteer labour after a month.

Meanwhile, the project has completed constructing the two-storied Changzoe lhakhang, including the wall paintings, and has started with the construction.

Project engineer Ugyen Lachey said all the architectural features have been kept the same, and work for the construction of a two-storied stone masonry building, tshokhang, is ongoing.

Funded by the government of India, work includes a two-storied dining hall, a multipurpose hall and a common kitchen for which Nu 100M (million) has been allocated.  A two-storied five-block drasha to accommodate 100 monks outside the dzong would be constructed with Nu 40M.

By Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue

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