Increased power brings no cheers to people

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Nov 18: The increased production of the hydropower from the country has substantially increased income for the government and raised the GDP rate as high was 21 percent. However, the expanding power industry has nothing to do with the local people. 

Even after seven months Tala hydropower project was handed over to Druk Green Power Corporation, shopkeepers and house owners in Gedu town have not been able to increase their business as expected.

The business has in fact decreased compared to the days when the project was under construction.

Now after the THP infrastructure was handover over to the Royal University of Bhutan to be used by Gaddug College of Business Studies, more than 50 percent of the 700 plus THP staff left for Punatsangchu hydropower project. The majority of the remaining staff shifted to Areykha power site located some 15 km from Gedu town.

During the construction period, around 280 houses were hired as THP permanent residential buildings. Shortly, the company will use only 29 and the rest will be handed over to respective owners. 

When staffs living in 86 temporary THP houses move to Rinchetse next year, the business in Gedu will further go cold. The establishment of Business College does not seem to bring good business. The 856 college students have everything they need in the campus including canteens, grocery shops, cobbler, beauty parlor and a tailor’s shop.

Moreover, the hospital staff, the lecturers and teachers live in government quarters. The forest staffs have formed a small community with huts.

Many people with cars prefer going Phuensholing to buy basic necessities, which is just about 90 minutes drive. Frustrated, some shopkeepers have even quit their business. Repayment of bank loans has now become their major concern.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I would urge every Bhutanese, Nepalese and Indian to read “The Greater Common Good’ by Arundhati Roy. One of the finest essays of our time. And a cutthroat analysis of what lies beneath hydropower projects.

    The case in the present news is just tip of the iceberg.

    Many seniors from the Bhutanese have also written about the projects and they should continue to stress on the environmental damage that it would lead to. A degredation of Southern Lhotsampas eco-systems, the way it affects downstream Indians (for whom the government has no concern), and so on…the list is long I suppose.

    I wish we could generate a series of effective articles on this matter…and generate a standard wave of activism.