Phurpa Lhamo | Gasa

The existing Gasa town is a small cluster of grocery stores, vegetable vendors and a few restaurants that sell noodles and momos, which run out of shelf before 5pm.

For a proper Bhutanese meal, orders need to be placed a few hours early. Apart from a guesthouse and a few homestays, lodging services aren’t available in the town.

But visitors in Gasa will soon have modern amenities, as the new town in Kolikha will have 29 commercial two-storey traditional buildings, resorts, a bus terminal and a workshop.

The dzongkhag’s municipal engineer, Kinley Dorji, said works to construct internal urban road, storm water drainage with service duct, and sewerage network was underway at Kolikha.

Kolikha is located around 1km away from Gasa Dzong.

According to the engineer, the contractor, who was awarded the works in October last year, has 18 months to finish the work. “We are expecting it to complete in April next year.”

Relocation of Gasa town is part of Gasa development plan, which was initiated in 2015. All works in the development plan will complete by 2030. As part of the plan, a bus terminal is expected to be ready by the end of the 12th Plan (2018-2023).

Kinley Dorji said that construction of commercial structures was part of phase one, while phase two would include construction of playgrounds and resorts.

He said commercial plots have been allocated to 29 households and 18 residential plots will be allotted soon.

According to the municipal engineer, a recent dzongkhag tshogdu decided to allow shopkeepers to begin construction at the new location by mid-2022.

He said that the main electricity transmission line had reached Kolikha, while distribution work would begin after service duct work is completed by April next year.

“The dzongkhag’s aim is to give basic amenities.”

He said two preliminary surveys have been completed for water supply and a detailed project report would soon be ready.

Kinley Dorji said that Zamjenachhu was identified as the new source for Gasa town. Today water comes from Shingtachhu, which a study had shown would be insufficient in future.

“We will be able to tender out the work in the coming financial year,” he said. “The work would be executed through the water flagship programme.”

Kinley Dorji said there are challenges of importing necessary materials and heavy rainfall which is hampering work at the site. “Works might get delayed.”

Gasa thromde is more than 200 areas in area. Of these, 63 acres of land is identified as a development zone.

After the new town is completed, the old town area would be identified as an institutional zone.

Edited by Tashi Dema