Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Jomotshangkha drungkhag in Samdrupjongkhar had been without electricity since September 10.

Continuous rain and strong winds on September 10 washed away a portion of the 33kV line from Phuentshothang to Jomotshangkha at Borlapam between Samrang and Jomotshangkha.

Langchenphu gup, Guman Singh Gaylal, said the drungkhag frequently experiences blackouts and they had raised the issue several times in the dzongkhag tshogdu before.  He said that since the drungkhag shares a border with Assam in India, there are high chances of security issues as all the outposts are without light. “We cannot communicate and exchange information because our phones are dead.”

The gup said that the gewog centres in the drungkhag are open but could not provide services to people. “Our main problem is the health service. Without light, we cannot avail health services such as X-ray, among others.”

Lauri Gup, Tempa Gyeltshen, said the gewog could not provide services like registration of census, insurance claims for death and timber permission, among others. “How long would the drungkhag have to face frequent light issues?”

“Since the gewog shares border with Arunachal Pradesh in India, we exchange information from the outposts and report to the drungkhag Covid-19 task force. But we could not report this time as we could not contact the officials at the outposts,” the gup said.

Jomotshangkha drungpa, Lamdak Wangdi, said heavy rains washed away two electricity poles at Borlalaptsa between Borla and Nunai and BPC officials couldn’t carry out restoration works because of the dense forest and lack of road.

He said that BPC provided a generator to the task force while the drungkhag administration provided torches to security personnel at the outposts. “We hope that electricity would be restored soon as it hampers official works during such a crucial situation.”

According to a public notification posted on the BPC official Facebook page, a portion of the 33kV line from Phuentshothang to Jomotshangkha was entirely damaged at Borlapam between Samrang and Jomotshangkha on September 10.

The notification states that the BPC had mobilised all the resources to carry out the restoration works in coordination with the drungkhag and gewog administrations. However, the accessibility issues, thick vegetation, swollen rivers and continuous rain hampered the works.