Electricity visited Panbang quite late and only on 1 July 2012. The electrified boon has however decided not to faithfully light up the villages; it is evident from the prolonged erratic behavior it has displayed for months.
“It’s been two months now but we had to live without power supply for more than 17 times till date,” said Panbang Dungpa Tserchung Kencho.
As a perquisite to foster economic growth in the villages, the newly introduced service has turned all hopes bleak for the village people.
People in Panbang still experience several blackouts which have put many developments on hold.
The Panbang Dungpa said that on 25 August there was no power supply and it’s been one week. Sometimes they had to live without electricity for more than a week.
Repeated complaints have been registered with the Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC) desk, but they have stated staff constraints as one of main cause for the power shortage.
Zhemgang Electricity Services Division (ESD) Manager Karma Leki said the harsh weather and the wires passing through thick forest creates inconveniences to the power supply especially from Norbugang under Nganglam Dungkhag till Panbang.
The electricity is provided by Nganglam Rural Electrification Construction Sub-Division under Bhutan Power Corporation Limited (BPCL).
Nganglam Assistant ESD said it’s newly constructed and crosses through thick jungle where bamboos are prominent. “Fast growing bamboo cuts off the wires and it’s impossible for an individual to go for patrolling in a jungle and cannot detect the exact problem,” he said.
The electricity is supplied from 48 km faraway from Panbang. However it was the nearest station they could retrieve electricity facilities and further Norbugang could also benefit in between without much expenditure.
He added that a group of people have been sent to detect the problem. They would most probably come to know the causes of poor power supply.
Despite that Zhemgang ESD officials had walked from Panbang till Norbugang crossing three thick Jungles to check the failures.
“We hope to improve the facility after 1 September, as we would be employing a permanent staff in Norbugang Service center to monitor,” said the Zhemgang ESD Manager.
Ngangla Gup, In Gewog Yargay Tshogchung (GYT) suggested clearing the forest during winter so as to curb the problem and provide with better facilities.
Further there would be mobile tower in Norbugang as farm road is constructed. Since poor communication facilities was one of the major reasons for the poor power supply.
People in Panbang said that without electricity all the works are left pending and has further aggravated development activities.
“Very soon National Land Commission Secretariat (NLCS) surveyors will come to do cadastral survey but we are not yet done with paper works which is one of the important formalities,” said the Ngangla Gup Rinchen Wangdi.
Before the advent of the electric connection, the Dungkhag had a generator to supply electricity. They used to get power for 10 hours a day, whereby they used to divide all the prior works according to it.
“The frequent loss of electricity supply had piled up many works and sometimes there is delay to provide salary to officials,” said the Panbang Dungpa.
In addition to that all the works have to be done on computer relying on internet facilities but without consistent electricity facilities the entire agency cannot provide the services to the community.
“Without electricity, Panbang is a terrible place to live in. As it is too hot and most of the students suffer from Typhoid, Malaria, Cholera, Diarrhea and many related diseases,” said the Ngangla Gup.