Poor Internet connectivity is proving to be a major obstacle in getting work done in the gewog offices of far-flung locations such as Laya and Merak.
Laya Gup Lhakpa Tshering said that they face lots of difficulty in transferring official documents because of poor Internet connection. “So we have to send Chipoen until the main road to post the documents in Gasa Dzong,” he said. “The Chipoen doesn’t get a single penny from the gewog for transporting the documents until Gasa Dzong and it is difficult to ask the Chipoen to do the work.”
Given the poor state of connectivity they are forced to plan a week ahead if they need to send documents so that it reaches on time. Work is in progress to improve connectivity in Laya within three months.
“As of now we browse documents through 2G mobile internet service but since the tower is a battery system (solar charge) it shuts down sometimes and we can’t rely on this service,” the gup said.
The administration officer of Merak gewog in northern Trashigang said they had postal services but that was been done away with the coming of Internet. However, the connectivity was poor and it hampered their work.
With 2G connectivity they browse documents but cannot download and when they need to send an urgent document, it is not possible. “We have Internet in Community Center (CC) but we need to pay charges and that they send a person to Tashigang which is 4 hours drive from the gewog center”, he added.
He also said that before, with fewer users, they could at least use a 2G Data Card but now with more users it does not work properly.
Seo Gup Kencho Dorji said Internet connectivity in his gewog does not work most of the time and work remains pending. “I am not blaming the operator or the government but I assume this because of the weather condition as our gewog is really high up,” he said. “We keep our accountant in the Dzongkhag office in Thimphu as he has to work more with Internet and we use Wechat app to exchange files and communicate through phone calls if anything important needs to be discussed,” he said.
He also said that mobile services were better this year compared to the past. “We have put a letter to the Dzongkhag for better internet services but I don’t know when we will get a better services for smooth flow of work,” the gup said.
Few gewogs are still using landline services. Many gewogs cut their landline after the coming of cellular services.