Thinley Namgay   

Residents of Hongtsho, Yusipang and Rama under the Chang Gewog in Thimphu have been bearing the cost of shifting electric poles from their land.

Poles are being relocated to either build houses or for other reasons.

Chang Mangmi Sonam Zangmo said that the farmland was distributed among family members over time, and people had to transfer electric poles to build houses. “But it’s problem for the residents when they have to pay more than Nu 100,000.”

The Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) could address the issue, said Sonam Zangmo. “It is challenging, especially for the disadvantaged section of people.”

BPC official said that the issue was not only in Thimphu. He said an exorbitant land price and land distribution among family members were the main reasons.

Many residents from Hongtsho and Yusipang have applied to transfer poles, according to BPC official. “To shift the poles, one has to bear the cost. If it is for a new one, payment is not required. People of Hongtsho and Yusipang are not requesting in a group to shift the poles.”

The BPC official said: “Today, it is difficult to get land to shift the poles. It would be better if the gewog administration could submit the list of all the affected people at once so that BPC can allocate a separate budget for the financial year.”

The recent Thimphu Dzongkhag Tshogdu decided that the gewog leaders should submit a list to the BPC.

The unauthorised installation of electric poles by the BPC in the private land is one of the causes of the current problem, Hongtsho Tshogpa Minjur Wangmo said. “In some places, BPC has installed tower without permission.”

She said that when residents apply to the authorities concerned to build a house, one of the criteria is whether there is an electrical disturbance in the surrounding. “So far, I received 13 complaints from the people.”

Yusipang Tshogpa Jamyang Lhamo said: “Depending on the size of poles, people have been paying between Nu 15,000 to Nu 50,000. In some places, there is a transmitter, and it costs more than Nu 500,000 to transfer it. How can people afford it?”

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk