NA: Details on how many of the off-grid households, left out in the 10th Plan, will receive electricity will be known next year May, according to the department of renewable energy.

The department has completed awarding tender to conduct a detailed feasibility survey for grid electrification of potential off-grid households across the country. There are 871 households off the grid today.

Officiating director Mewang Gyeltshen said that although a survey conducted early this year found that the households fell within five kilometres range from the line length, the nearest transmission line but the geographical location was not known.

Through a least-cost option, the feasibility survey will analyse the economically justifiable ways to connect these households with electricity.

“We’ll study how much and what materials will be required to electrify these households,” he said. “As long as it is justifiable they will receive electricity.”

He said it is estimated that there are at least 2,500-3,000 households off the grid but there are places such as Singye dzong in Lhuentse, which is technically not possible to electrify. It also doesn’t fall in the electrification plan.

This issue was also raised during the question hour session of the National Assembly’s on December 8, where Kengkhar-Wrengla Member of Parliament, Rinzin Jamtsho sought clarification from the economic affairs minister on when would the remaining villages in Mongar receive electricity.

He said during the 10th Plan, all gewogs in Mongar were connected with electricity save for few villages. Some of the villages that are not yet electrified were Romangla in Kengkhar gewog, Gyalong and Kadak in Silambi gewog, Kuma dzong and Pikari in Gongdue gewog.

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, who provided written answers said 59 households in the six villages of Mongar, as officially requested by the respective gewog administrations, have been listed for the upcoming feasibility detailed survey work.  However, survey will not be conducted in Romangla village.

The department of renewable energy has listed two more households in Kangkari village and four in Labtsa village.

“Feasibility study to connect the off-grid households is necessary because our experience shows that requisition are put even for temporary sheds, which is not viable at all,” Lyonpo said.

With tendering done, the department will now look into the possibilities of securing funds to carry out electrification works in villages and gewogs, which the consultant has itemized as potentially feasible place.

Nirmala Pokhrel