Phurpa Lhamo | Gasa
Business at Gasa tshachu has been hit hard and the management expects income to drop drastically in the next financial year if Covid-19 pandemic does not end soon.
The tshachu closed on March 22 for safety reasons and today it is used as a quarantine facility.
In the 2018-2019 financial year, the tshachu earned Nu 2.5 million (M). The income fell to Nu 2.2M this financial year.
According to Gasa Tshachu manager Tandin Dorji, revenue this financial year was expected to be better than the previous financial year. “The income has been increasing over the years and we expected around Nu 2.6M this year.”
There are 78 rooms at different rent to visitors at different rates.
The tshachu during peak season, between December and February, gets over 1,600 visitors renting the guesthouses every month.
Lack of customers has also affected the four shops at the tshachu.
A shopkeeper, Karma Yangzom said that she used to earn at least Nu 5,000 in a day when the tshachu was open. Today, her shop is as good as closed.
“I pay Nu 11,000 monthly rent. I receive Nu 8,000 as relief kidu which helps a lot.”
Today, Karma Yangzom is exhausting her savings paying rent and for her daily expenditure.
The homestays in Gasa also share similar woes.
A homestay owner, Tashi, said that earlier he earned an income of Nu 15,000 monthly. This increased when the dzongkhag had festivals and celebrations.
“I have a loan but with the three months loan deferment, I am at ease. I just hope that situation improves.”
Without an income today, Tashi has been focusing on agriculture to at least ensure self-sufficiency.
There are 20 homestays in Gasa.
Taking advantage of the closure, Gasa dzongkhag administration is maintaining the tshachu.
The dzongkhag spent Nu 1.4M to install streetlights in the area.
Beautification of the area was carried out with the support of Nu 1.5M through the Small Development Project (SDP) grant.
Tandin Dorji said that trees were planted, the roofing was replaced with black slates, mini ponds made, and bridges built and toilets were also maintained.
Blacktopping the tshachu parking area and pavement of footpaths are underway and would be complete next week.
The work is executed with the budget of Nu 1.5M from the dzongkhag development grant.
The Gasa tshachu committee is also in discussion to widen the road to tshachu. The road witnesses landslides in monsoon.