Yangyel Lhaden

Tenchoe and Thangza villages in Lunana have to wait a little longer for electricity.

In the National Assembly’s question hour, Khamaed-Lunana Member of Parliament (MP), Yeshey Dem, asked Energy and Natural Resources Minister Loknath Sharma for an update on the progress of solar electrification in Lunana’s Tenchoe and Thangza villages.

Khamaed-Lunana MP Yeshey Dem said Tenchoe and Thangza villages have yet to witness any advancement in electrification efforts from the government.

According to data from Gasa dzongkhag, Tenchoe and Thangza have the highest number of households among all villages in Lunana, with a total of 80 households.

Despite initiatives dating back to the second government, these two villages have not received electricity. The MP asked Lyonpo Loknath Sharma on when the people of Tenchoe and Thangza could expect to have electricity.

Lyonpo Loknath Sharma said that there were challenges impeding the progress of electrification in Lunana. For instance, the significant distance separating the region from the main grid, coupled with the presence of a nature reserve park.

“These factors have added substantial logistical complexities and extra expenditures in bringing electricity to Lunana,” he said.

Lyonpo said a previously planned mini-hydroplant with a capacity of 500 kilowatts, which unfortunately fell short of covering all the villages and incurred a cost of approximately Nu 600 million, rendering it economically unfeasible.

He said that the focus then shifted to harnessing solar energy. A 5-kilowatt solar plant had been successfully installed in Mendrelthang school, and further plans were underway to install a solar plant in Shangsa village this year.

However, the electrification of Thangza and Tenchoe villages would require a larger solar plant with a capacity of 279kW, sufficient to power approximately 90 households. “The estimated cost for this ambitious project stood at USD 2.55 million.”

Lyonpo assured the assembly that efforts were underway to secure funding for the solar plant in Thangza and Tenchoe. He said that he hoped that the surplus funds from the construction of the Seyphu solar plant could be allocated to this cause.

He said that wherever possible, electrification initiatives in Lunana were progressing, assuring MP Yeshey Dem and the people of Lunana that their region would not be kept in darkness.