The electrification work in Dorokha Drungkhag, Samtse is slated to start within this year with the letter of intent already approved by BPC headquarter. The drunkhag office had put up the proposal since 2016 but was it held up due to various factors.
Thulung Gaon, Sibi Chang, Majuwa, Pang Kha, Upper Singye, Lower Sanglung and Dramey are the places (with 111 households) without proper power connectivity. The people depend on solar energy instead.
Dorokha Drungpa said his office is in constant touch with BPC with regard to the electrification work in Dorokha. As of now the light (renewal energy) is connected all the way from Phuentsholing to Haa Sombeykha, whereby if there is any fault at any place, everything gets shut down.
He said that there is an issue in the far flung places where the electricity has to rush through thick forest. And not having an access to any motorable road is another issue, he said, adding that this contributes to no lights for weeks on end at times. He said they have to walk with a transformer to the place where there is a short circuit.
In addition, he said that the tendering work was started since a long time back, but it had to be canceled due to some issues, and again they had to retender it and that took a longer time.
The work was supposed to start last year but they were delayed, he said. Meanwhile, he said the electrification has now become more reliable compared to the past. “Light usually goes off when there is a thunderstorm and when the lightening hits the transformer. It is also affected when a tree hits the electric cable and the electric polls are not too high from the ground,” he added.
An official from BPC in Samtse said that electrification work is needed all over the country and such cases are called off-grid. “People feel that off-grid is not electrified. Though they are not provided with a grid line, they are having renewal energy (solar), and therefore we (BPC) consider it as an electrified because they are provided with the alternative energy,” he added.
He said that there are around 2,000 plus households under off-grid system in Bhutan but now they are connecting it to the on-grid, extending the grid line. However, he said that there are many problems due to solar energy, whereby they can only use for lighting purpose.
“Thereby, later, for an on-grid, there was JICA fund saving from the rural electrification and after discussion with them, it was then decided to take up electrification of off-grid households to on-grid,” he added.
A survey was conducted in Dorokha in 2016 to work out a cost estimation so as to discuss with the donor agent. He said that it is not that right after the survey, they can give electricity connection because it is not like there are only one or two households, but the entire grid has to be extended to remote areas.
He added that it is difficult to start the work the southern part of the country during the summer as it is a waste of time and resources. “Since we couldn’t provide them the grid before, therefore, they were provided with the renewal energy. Now, the actual implementation of electrification work in Dorokha will be started within this year,” he added. The groundwork will start in October.
Dophuchen Gup, Padam Bdr Rai, said that the proposal for the electrification work under Dophuchen gewog in Dorokha was submitted back in 2016.
He said that they have done numerous follow-ups and to each follow-up they were told that the tendering work will be done soon. “Recently, I got an update saying that they have already awarded the work for electrification and it is, of course, good news for the people under the Drungkhag,” he added.
Meanwhile, he also shared that mobile network is always an issue in some of the chiwogs, making their work more challenging and prolonging. He said that there is no network at all in called Thulung Gaon and Sibi Chang
“People in that chiwog have to run to the top hill to get hold of network. There are 40 households in the chiwog and life for them is difficult in any kind of emergency. Also it makes difficult for us to reach any information to the people in that chiwog,” he added.
He added that if they are to walk to that chiwog for any matter, they have to walk for 3 hours from the road point that is almost two hours travelling from the gewog center. But the condition of the farm road is not so stable and good as it was recently constructed.
BPC has issued a letter of intent on On-Grid Rural Electrification works of Off-Grid households in Dophuchen and Norbugang gewogs under Samtse Dzongkhag” under Package L26(Off-Grid) for a contract price of Nu. 6.664 mn (Ngultrum six million six hundred sixyy four thousand three hundred ten and Chetrum zero zero) only.
The official said that the bid evaluation has been done and probably by next month, the work will be handed over to the respective contractors.