The project is expected to complete in four months

Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

Initiated by Her Majesty the Royal Grand Mother Kesang Choeden Wangchuck, a complete re-electrification of the Punakha Dzong began yesterday. 

According to a press release, “The Gyalyum’s initiative is to fulfil His Majesty The Druk Gyalpo and His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s wishes to protect all dzongs and lhakhangs in Bhutan and Her Majesty’s own wishes to protect heritage sites with safe electrical systems.”

The project would be led by a technical team from the Swiss Theatre Lighting Company.

Project leader, Emanuel Flückiger, said that the re-electrification would be of the European standard. “A lot of wires are not in a good condition. There are a lot of places that are risky and have safety issues.”

The press release stated, “Flückiger is familiar with the risks of fire disasters that have devastated many sacred structures around Bhutan, including the Wangdue Dzong, and it was his personal aspiration to re-electrify the Punakha Dzong.” 

While there had been no major issues with the existing wiring system in Punakha Dzong, constant maintenance is required, said Punakha Dzongrab Ugyen Tshering. 

“I had a big wish to do the project. Our goal is to make this holy place really safe. With the knowledge from the Swiss team, we can help the Bhutanese team to get good knowledge,” Emanuel Flückiger said.

The Swiss team will also train 26 technicians of Technical Training Institute (TTI) in Khuruthang, 10 desuups, and 10 other Bhutanese electricians. 

The project is expected to complete in four month.

The Royal Project is estimated to cost Nu 52.68 million (M). 

Her Majesty the Royal Grand Mother granted the seed fund of Nu10M.  Emanuel Flückiger has contributed Nu 20.40M and material resources for the project. 

The Bhutanese government provided Nu 22.28M for the project.