English | Dzongkha Monday, July 13, 2020

Of pledges, promises and hopes of getting gridline electricity

Oct 21, 2019

Gongkha village is one of the remotest communities in Samtse District. Gongkha and two other villages in Norgaygang Gewog are still without gridline electricity. People in these villages remain hopeful but their will is shattered every night when they see light in the village just across the river.

Gongkha is two hours walk from the nearest road.

As night falls over the southern foothills, the kerosene lamps are lit in many homes in Gongkha and Tshachhu villages under Chongzhu_Tshachhu chiwog, and Chhu Goo(Chingu) village under Chhu-Goo_Phendegang chiwog in Norgaygang Gewog. They are among the last villages in Samtse without grid electricity. The villagers say politicians have been raising their hopes since 2008 but to no avail.

“They have been telling us we will get electricity. It’s a remote village and even if electricity does not come sooner, they promised to give solar panels. We were happy and hopeful but it is just hope, nothing is forthcoming,” said Ritu from Gongkha of Chongzhu_Tshachhu chiwog under Norgaygang gewog in Samtse.

“The candidates come with their manifestos during elections. And they promise roads and electricity. Now, it is the third government and we still don’t have electricity. People are complaining. They are at least hoping to get solar electricity,” said Tshering, the Chongzhu_Tshachhu chiwog Tshogpa.

Phendegang village under Chhu-Goo_Phendegang chiwog, which is across the river on another hill, has gridline electricity, much to the envy of villagers in Gongkha.

“If we go to Phendegang, it is just 30 minutes walk. There is electricity there and yet it hasn’t reached us. It is shocking and disheartening for us. They are bright and lit up while we are still using kerosene lamps,” added Ritu.

Only half of over 200 households in the three villages have solar-powered electricity. The three villages, however, do have 4G and 3G Internet connectivity. Charging their phones is another matter.

“We have to use mobile phones. Charging our phones is another problem. We go to our relatives and friends who have solar electricity to charge our phones. Within our relatives is fine but others are hesitant to let us charge our phones again and again,” she added.

Hopes of villagers like Ritu will soon be realized. Bhutan Power Corporation is set to start electrification works by the end of this month. BPC’s two-year project will light up the three villages in Norgaygang and a few other villages in Dorokha dungkhag and Norbugang Gewog.

Sherub Dorji

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