After the completion of the detailed project report (DPR) by the end of this year, work could begin for Kuri-Gongri Hydropower Project, Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma said.

Although the study for DPR began in 2009, Minister Loknath Sharma said that because the project was for 2,640 megawatts (MW), there were issues. “The project is with the two large rivers – Gongri and Kuri. However, whether to kickstart the project would depend on discussion after the DPR.”

The National Assembly also discussed the promotion of tourism in the central and eastern regions of the country.

Bardo-Trong’s Member of Parliament (MP), Gyampo Tshering, asked if the royalty waiver of USD 65 a day per tourist visiting eastern dzongkhags had help increase numbers the tourists in the east.

Prime Minister        Dr Lotay Tshering said that in terms of hydropower projects, the focus could be more on the capacity building for the future instead of building hydropower projects on all available rivers in the country.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) in their manifesto stated that the party would generate an additional 5,200MW of hydropower through Sunkosh, Kuri-Gongri, and other projects.

Minister Loknath Sharma said that the benefit of the waiver was yet to be seen.

He added that to promote tourism in the east, preparations to bring tourism offices in the region were being made. “For community-based tourism, action plan is being made. Promoting tourism is also a flagship programme of the 12th Plan.”

Knowledge-sharing on providing services among the community, construction of basic facilities such as toilets in the east and the central regions are also underway, Minister Loknath Sharma said.

“Waiver will continue. We are committed to working towards development of the east and central regions,” Minister Loknath Sharma said.

Prime Minister  Dr Lotay Tshering said that for tourism development, more research was required. “We cannot send equal number of tourists to all the areas, but what we can do is send more tourists to areas where they are willing to go and take the fund from it and bring benefit to other dzongkhags.”

Phurpa Lhamo