Indian PM inaugurates Supreme Court building and lays foundation stone plaque on Kholongchhu hydroproject

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the first foreign country visit to Bhutan, graced a number of milestone events to mark the Bhutan – India relations, one of which was the formal inauguration of the Supreme Court building on June 15.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Justice of Bhutan, Sonam Tobgye, said the establishment of the Supreme Court exemplifies the faith, trust and expectations of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the judicial system.

“It expresses and defines the values of our democratic Constitutional Monarchy. With the blessings of Their Majesties, this mandala of justice embodies the reverence        for the rule of law, protection of rights, public justice in its highest form, and the dignity of a person,” the Chief Justice said.

The Chief Justice of Bhutan said the Supreme Court building is not just another edifice or another court building, but it is the symbol of Bhutan-India friendship.

The concept and design of the Supreme Court is inspired by Bhutanese history, mythology, spiritual traditions and expressions as well as from the modern values of justice. It was funded by the government of India.

As of now, there are a few works left to be done on the Supreme Court building and the office hasn’t moved in as yet.

“I can’t definitely say when we will be moving our office to the Supreme Court from       Kuengachholing, but we will be shifting very soon as not of much work is left,” the Chief Justice of Bhutan said, adding that landscaping and few little construction works are left to be done.

His Majesty the King established the Supreme Court on February 21, 2010. The foundation stone of the Supreme Court building was laid on October 13, 2005.

The Supreme Court of Bhutan comprise of the Chief Justice and four justices. It is the highest appellate authority to entertain appeals against the judgments, orders, or decisions of the High Court in all matters and has the power to review its judgments and orders.

The Indian PM also graced the foundation stone laying plaque for the Kholongchhu hydroelectric project right   after addressing the joint session of the Parliament on June 16.

PM Modi, in presence of the PM Tshering Tobgay, unveiled the foundation stone of the project, signifying the start of construction of the first joint venture hydroelectric project.

The Kholongchhu hydroelectric project is a run of the river scheme located at the lower course of Kholongchhu river in Trashiyangtse.

It is expected to bring major economic opportunities in the eastern dzongkhag during the construction period.

There will be a 95m high concrete gravity dam constructed across Kholongchhu about 17 kilometer upstream of the confluence with Gongrichhu river and will utilize a net head of about 761.53m.

The project has been     designed with an installed capacity of 600MW (four generating units of 150MW capacity each) which will generate about 2,568.88MU of electricity in a 90% dependable year.

The power evacuation arrangement will comprise of 400KV transmission lines and will be connected to the Jigmeling pooling station located near the IndoBhutan border in southcentral part from which power will be supplied to India.

The project is to be completed within a period of 77 months which includes 18 months of pre-construction time and it is estimated to cost about Nu31,436.39 million at March 2011 Price Level. The cost does not include the interest during construction and financing charges.

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