The project, hereon, entails penetrating into some of the remotest areas without access roads   
Electricity “Electricity for all” is what the government hopes to achieve by 2013 and having lit up more than 40,000 homes so far, it has achieved 80 percent of that target.

Power officials, however, fear the real hurdles to achieving its target has now just begun.

“So far we’ve only covered areas which have access road,” a power official said, adding what was left now were the far-flung rural areas like Laya in Gasa, Shingkhar Lauri in Samdrupjongkhar, Doban in Sarpang and Denchukha in Samtse.

“Transporting equipment and materials over hostile terrain is our concern,” he said.

Most remote areas require at least a day’s walk from the nearest road and the project involves carrying heavy equipment and material such as electric poles, transformers and construction materials.

Bhutan Power Corporation’s rural electrification project, so far supplied electricity to 21,820 households covering 10 dzongkhags of Trongsa, Trashigang, Tsirang, Mongar, Dagana, Chukha, Paro, Haa, Samtse and Bumthang.

From their experience of having connected many rural villages with electricity, power officials said  harsh weather conditions, work delays by contractors, time loss in processing funds and importing materials from third countries were hassles they were wrought up over.

A power official said the corporation did most works of carrying materials to designated areas leaving only wiring, electricity pole alignment and painting works for contractors.

Till date construction works in different dzongkhags were awarded to 40 different contractors.

Another officials explained that labour shortage was another problem besides delay in importing   transformers and poles.

Only about 20 percent of the materials are from India and the rest from third countries like France, Indonesia and China.

“It takes about 18 months for the materials to reach the country,” he said. “Much of the time is lost in paper works, such as having the funds transferred for construction materials.”

Japan International Cooperation Agency and Asian Development Bank have assisted in terms of loans and donations towards financing the rural electrification project in the country.

Source: Kuensel