Foreign affairs minister, Damcho Dorji, on August 27, inaugurated Driving Dzongkhag Development Centre (DDDC) and a water bottling plant in Gasa.

The bottled spring water named Gasa Soechu is the first product of the DDDC.

The spring water comes from Jachhu Zakha.

“It is purified and treated with state-of-the-art technology comprising of multistage filtration, ozonisation and ultraviolet to ensure the best quality of water in terms of purity and biological safety,” stated the dzongkhag’s press release.

The spring water is linked to Drubthop Terkhungpa’s drupchu (holy water). Drubthop Terkhungpa is founder of Gasa Tashithongmoen Dzong site in the 12th century. Later in the 16th century, the water was used as offering to Ap Gomo and as soechu of Zhabdrung Rinpoche.

The water bottling plant was set up and funded by the dzongkhag but will be handed to the residents of Gasa in future.

The document of vision of Good to Great Gasa states that the water-bottling project is initiated mainly to replace the imported bottled water in the dzongkhag and to generate employment and revenue.

According to the document, although the total volume of imported bottled water consumed in the dzongkhag is not very huge, in terms of revenue lost to the import, it is quite substantial in context of the overall import of goods.

Gasa Soechu is manufactured by the community-owned company (CoC), DDDC. The CoC empowers the community to manage and utilise natural resources such as water. “DDDC is the engine of sustainable socio-economic development of Good to Great Gasa with self-reliance as its objective,” the press release states.

The document states that DDDC will focus on traditional and contemporary industries, with the mandates of promoting and preserving culture. “There will be five such centres, one each for four gewogs and the fifth one at dzongkhag level.”

DDDC is one of the programmes that will complement the five-year plan programmes to make Gasa great. Other programmes include establishment of community-based tourism, tshachu (hotspring) and menchu (medicinal bath), Driving Dzongkhag Development Fund, and Driving Dzongkhag Development Centre Bond.

The vision of ‘Good to Great Gasa’ expects to lead in good governance and public service delivery, promote culture and heritage, and to create community-led tourism with green socioeconomic development.

Staff reporter