Owner said the site maintenance had been carried out 

Chimi Dema | Tsirang

Pollution and unpleasant smell emanating from the slaughterhouse due to poor hygiene in Gosarling, Tsirang have become a source of concern for residents in the vicinity.

Located about three kilometres from Damphu towards Changchey, the slaughterhouse above Damphu-Changchey road, according to residents, lacks proper hygiene and waste disposal.

While the solid waste discarded in the area creates a foul smell, liquid waste such as blood and gut contaminate water resources in three chiwogs, according to residents.

A villager said that the situation was worse in the last few months when the import of meat was restricted in the country due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“The smell was so strong that we had to cover our nose while passing by,” a commuter said.

The increased demand for meat from other dzongkhags encouraged more production but no proper hygiene was maintained in the house, a villager said.

Given the harm associated with the slaughterhouse in the vicinity, residents said that similar concerns were raised to gewog and dzongkhag administrations in the past.

“But nothing has been done despite numerous pleadings from us,” one said.

In September 2012, a group of community members had written to the former dzongdag requesting to relocate the slaughterhouse. The villagers then stated that the polluted air and foul smell emanating from the house defiled the community lhakhang.

A resident said that in the past, the waste also contaminated the water source that was used for offering in the temple. “We have a different source now.”

According to the former gewog mangmi, Dil Bdr Dhahal, the issue was discussed among 12 gewog leaders with the former dzongdag but decided to keep it as it is.

“The gewog officials have tried hard to relocate considering benefits for both the owner and residents,” he said. “But villagers in Changchey, the site to be relocated did not approve.”

“We have also received negative reaction from the villagers later,” he said.

The slaughterhouse was approved by Dzongkhag Tshogdu in consultation with the people about 13 years ago.

The villagers said that even if shifting was not feasible, constructing a proper structure and maintaining hygiene at the site could help reduce the problem.

Meanwhile, the owner Penjor said that he had maintained and improved the infrastructure last month with investment of Nu 0.5 million. “I am working on maintaining further hygiene at the site.”

“The Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) officials from both Thimphu and the dzongkhag visited the site for inspection and granted permission to reopen,” he said.

About villagers’ complaint on waste contaminating water sources, he said it was not true. He said that while checking water quality by experts and dzongkhag officials a few years ago, no contamination was found.

He also said that he had been running the business for the last seventeen years on his private land and the present site was approved after a thorough investigation by authorities concerned.

The BAFRA official in the dzongkhag said that the site maintenance had been carried out and regular inspections are done every day.