Sunkosh hydropower project which was downsized to 2,560 MW from 4,060 MW is finally on the verge of implementation with the Detailed Project Report (DPR) to be finalized by July this year. The communities, it is said, will reap many benefits.
The economic affairs minister, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, said the construction will commence either by the end of this year or early next year.
Harnessing Sunkosh River is part of the bid to generate 10,000 MW of electricity by 2020, and a joint Indo-Bhutan venture.
According to the Department of Hydro Power System (DHPS), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA), Lamoizingkha in lower Dagana will be a gateway to central Bhutan as road construction from Lamoizingkha to Dagapela and Lamoizingkha to Chukha dzongkhag is under construction.
With this connectivity, doors to economic opportunities will open, said officials from MoEA.
Meanwhile, the communities are already excited about business prospects.
Around a week back, Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk along with his officials paid a visit to Lamoizingkha, Karmaling and Nichula gewogs, and highlighted on the potential benefits and the negative impacts of the hydropower project.
Earlier, Lamoizingkha was mainly recognized for mandarin and agricultural products but, now venturing into trading of commodities, opening restaurants, and hotels with lodging among others seem to be viable options.
Another advantage that Lyonpo spoke was on the long-term benefits like tourism. This idea was developed from the water reservoir flowing back and stretching to around 40 km which could enhance water related activities like boating and transportation.
The Officiating Head of Planning and Coordination Division, DHPS, Karma P Dorji, said when hydro power projects of large magnitude are commissioned social implications like land issues are bound to crop up but he assured the people that the government would be considerate in these matters.
Provisions like land compensation with either land or cash will be made for the landowners whose lands get affected by the project.
However, if both household and the land get affected, the government will provide employment to a member of the family.
During the construction, the affected parties will be entirely compensated by the project and at the same time they will be allowed to stay in their homes or lands till the completion of the project.
The project also promises to support any group of people coming forward as community cooperative with a sound business plan; the project will help in terms of lease, rentals, and other amenities.
Lyonpo also took the communities on a study visit to Punatshangchu I and II, to see how the project works and to get a basic idea on what they should be prepared for.
However, the people were cautioned on the ills of fronting and warned that all should abide by the rules and regulations adopted by the government.
Among other activities, one of the prerequisites for the project is the construction of the approach roads and bridges right from the border to the project site.
Karma P Dorji said as the project site was 17 km away from the Lamoizingkha, these roads were a necessity adding that this will also include the improvement of the existing roads from Lamoizingkha towards India.