Records to ashes

Other than the planning sector, all other offices have lost records and documents in the fire

The Wangdue dzong fire left behind ashes of documents from numerous offices located inside the Dzong. Although much of it can be retrieved, officials say most important documents are lost forever.

One of the sector head said the toughest job after the fire is for the finance and the engineering sector. He said that the bill from contractors and suppliers which are lost could be a gray area. When we ask it once more, there could be false claims which can be found but there is still room for manipulation.

Wangduephodrang Dzongda, Lhendup Wangchhu said “We never expected that the fire could go out of control. We were hoping the entire time that the fire can be controlled and in the process, no documents could be saved.”

He said that they have to start fresh. On Monday a meeting would be held to come up with plans to retrieve the lost document and how to go about it.

“We are getting in touch with respective ministries and agencies to trace the internet based records,” he said.

The Dzongkhag Finance Officer, Dechen Peldon said that the concerned sectors like health, education and others who have been trying to complete their works and pending approval have all been lost. Also the works on bills submitted which needs to be paid to the offices in the dzong have to be started all over again.

The payment vouchers have all been destroyed. “We cannot retrieve any document compiled for the last decade for future references,” she said.

For the planning sector, as such there is not much loss as there are copies of the planning and monitoring activities with the Gross National Happiness Commission, said the Dzongkhag Planning Officer, Sahadev Thapa. The plans they made have been converted into documents which can be found online.

The census and civil registration documents can be traced from the headquarters and so can the land records be found from the National Land Commission and the Local Government.

However, there are documents like bills, measurement books, expenditure books, stock register and valuable personal files. “We assume that the Royal Civil Service Commission has maintained the file but how comprehensive it is, we do not know,” he said.

“Those things that are lost forever cannot be found. There is no use looking back. It is time to look forward. Once we get the information, we will start punching it,” he added saying that the work has already started on retrieving information from the Chiwog level.

Another important file of document lost was the minutes of the Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogchung which will be traced from the Department of Local Government and Gewog Administration Offices if they have mainted a copy, said the planning officer.

The Dzong housed numerous Dzongkhag administration office including the accounts, budget, agriculture, census, forestry, cultural, education, electoral, engineering, environment, human resource, land records, livestock, planning, revenue, statistical and others.

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