Chubu Tshachu visitors plead for electrification to ensure security

Chubu Tshachu is one of the well-known hot springs in the country. Chubu Tshachu falls under Toedwang gewog in Punakha.

Like all the hot springs in the country, Chubu Tshachu is also well-known for its healing and curative properties for ailments like body aches, sinuses, ulcer, gastritis and even piles. The hot spring is located approximately 30 km away from the suspension bridge in Punakha.

Visitors have to walk for almost two hours before reaching the Tshachu from the nearest motorable road. There are 15 people who own horses (maximum 4 and minimum 2) and operate porter-pony business by charging a minimum of Nu 300 for each horse.

At around this time of the season, many visitors were seen flocking the place and there were more than 45 tents pitched by the visitors. There are 6 toilets, 2 water (hot) pools, 1 bathing pool, six local shops and 10 guest houses in the Tshachu area and it is reported that more than a thousand people visit the remote hot spring every year.

However, visitors shared with paper that though they are more than happy with the facilities and the healing effect of the tsachu, it would be more convenient and beneficial to the visitors if the government could electrify the place.

Toedwang gup, Touchu said that they understand the hardship and various challenges faced by the visitors and that they have been receiving similar concerns from almost every visitor.

The gup said that they have proposed to the government in 2016 and a team from Bhutan Power Corporation conducted survey in 2017. However, the place could not still be electrified due to budget constraints.

The gup said they will nonetheless keep following up with the government and see the possibility of soon electrifying the place.

He also added the visitors pointed out that every year, the heat and size of the water is diminishing, which he said is a cause of concern.

“We had a talk with the Dzongkhag on that matter. They have a plan to move all the settlements in a new place, clearing that specific area only for hot water pools. We have measured around 1.7 acres of land just few meters before reaching Tshachu and have submitted to the relevant ministry for Thram. If that gets approved, then we have plans to construct guesthouse and other necessities in the area. That way we can keep Tshachu clean and preserved,” he said.

44-year-old caretaker Lhab Tshering, said waste management is another issue and people do not think twice before throwing waste in such sacred areas. Caretakers are changed every year in the area on rotational basis who are the households of Nyeptengkha village under the gewog.

“I own a shop but still it remains a challenging as the number of shops in the area is increasing. It would be better if only the caretaker of the year can run a shop but people want to compete which hampers everyone of us,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dawa, 53-year-old visitor said that she visits the Tshachu every year with her family because the hot spring has been very effective in treating her ailments. She said that cooking at night using torch and candles is fine but it has many associated risk. “There is every chance of fire incidences due to carelessness by people, theft cases and it also affecting the sanitation in the area,” she added.

Another visitor Tashi, 76-year-old man said that upon suggestion by his friends he started visiting the Tshachu three years ago and since then he has been visiting every year. He said, “This Tshachu is really effective and I visit every year to cure my piles and gastritis. Every year number of visitor from every walk of life keep flocking the place.”

Sometimes there are youths who visit in groups, he pointed out. “Some are quite fine while some groups act so wild and create nuisances in the area, especially during the night. Thus, having no electricity is an issue during such times”, he added.

“They usually come in pool inebriated and once my friend has fallen victim to their ragging and threatening. So, I feel that they are taking advantage of the darkness”, he added.

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