Dorji Khandu

Being an Engineer by Profession and a Servant Leader by Passion.

Gasa dzongkhag’s Mid-Term Review (MTR) for the 12th FYP was held on 14th May 2021. The Government looked into the status of development activities at the Local Government, quality of service delivery, budget allocation, explored ways to improve performance, understand challenges, and the way forward.

Summary of 12th FYP Mid-Term Review

The 12th FYP is guided by the development philosophy of GNH and the nine domains. The strategic planning framework for the 12th FYP illustrates the key deliverables of the plan defined as the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) at the national level, Agency Key Result Areas (AKRAs) at the agency level, and Local Government Key Result Areas (LGKRAs) at local government level that contributes to achieving the 12th FYP objectives. To measure the progress of these results, each NKRA, AKRA, and LGKRA has corresponding KPIs with baseline and targets for the plan period.

The local governments in Gasa achieved 18% of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), 48% are on track, and 4%  at risk.

KPIs of LGKRAs at risk

It was reported that of the 11 LGKRAs, the Community Health Enhanced, Water Security Ensured, and Improved & Sustained Livelihood of the Highlander were at risk.

To ensure the dzongkhag achieve these key result areas, one medical doctor in each gewog was proposed, and a request to revise the target to supply 80 numbers of sheep to 10 households instead of 300 sheep to 50 households in the 12 FYP were made during the review meeting. This is because the highlanders are not interested in rearing sheep.

It was not feasible to provide one doctor in each gewog. Nonetheless, RCSC assured to deploy permanent doctor to Gasa hospital by July this year as a standard practice. The number of sheep to be distributed couldn’t be altered as the targets were set and the plan approved, according to GNHC. The change could have considerable implications in the future.

Summary of the 12th FYP Outlay, Revised Budget, and Expenditure (As of 30th April 2021)

Gasa Dzongkhag and the four gewogs were allocated with a total budget of Nu. 784.53 M and 163.96 M respectively in 12 FYP. The cumulative revised budget for dzongkhag and the Gewog is Nu. 621.69 M and Nu. 87.19 M respectively. The percent of expenditure against outlay for dzongkhag and gewog is 48.31% and 46.36%. And the percent of expenditure against budget for dzongkhag and gewog 60.96% and 87.18 %, respectively.

Major Achievement of Capital Investments

  1. Construction of approach road towards Wophu with total Budget of Nu. 9.738 M: 1.748 km of approach road with retaining wall and internal road cutting (300 mts) are completed in phase-I. Phase-II includes water supply, PCC drain, and stone soling. The works have been awarded on 6th May 2021.
  2. 15.5 km road construction from Sephu to Gyantsa for Luana Gewog with the budget of Nu. 7 M. 12 km formation cutting of the road is completed with machinery support from the Dzongkhag.
  3. Flood protection work at Gasa Tsachu with a budget of 29.100 M. Currently, 90% of the work is completed, and the project to complete by the end of May 2021.
  4. Construction of 85 metres long suspension bridge at Lunana (Thangza zam) with a total budget of Nu. 5.95 M. Over 90% of the work is completed, and the project is expected to complete by the end of this month.
  5. Black-topping of Laya GC Road with Budget of Nu. 72.5 M. Black-topping for the first 3 km road is completed under Phase-I. Construction of 4.3 km long PCC drain, laying of GSB/WSM (1.7 km), and two numbers of RCC slab bridges are in progress under Phase-II. The work to construct permanent structures such as base course, WMM, culvert slab bridges, and drain on 15.5 km road under Phase-III were awarded on 12th March with a total budget of Nu 45.49 M.
  6. Gasa Throm developments with a budget of Nu. 54.2 M. Currently, the construction of the approach road is completed (formation cutting, soling and breast walls). Construction of internal urban roads and storm-water drainage and service ducts is in progress. The excavation works for the sewer network are also underway.
  7. Ongoing Construction of Bjishong and Laya Central School with budget Nu. 137.311 M. Construction of Laya Primary Health Centre (total budget Nu. 80 M) and the improvement of 9.95 km farm roads (GSB/Soling/Drainage) costing Nu. 16.352 M are underway.

 Central Activity Executed by the Dzongkhag

  1. The blacktopping works from Wokuna, Punakha are awarded ( total budget Nu. 35 M), and BOD till dzong parking at Nu. 7 M.
  2. Feasibility and development of power supply to the Lunana community with Nu. 15 M. Nu. 7 M was used for the feasibility study. MoEA has proposed Nu. 663.55 M to Korean Development Assistance.
  3. Gasa Dzong Conservation Project with Nu. 110M.
  4. Construction of Dragshag, and Kagoe Lhakhang with a budget of Nu. 127.947 M completed. The Lhakhang was handed over to the Dzongkhag Administration on 4th May 2021.
  5. Visitor Information Center (VIC) at Baychu (Gasa-Tsachu highway tri-junction) with budget Nu. 4.25 M: completed and handed over to the youth of Khatoed Gewog.
  6. Cafeteria and restroom at Genteygang constructed with a total budget of Nu. 3.75 M was completed and handed over to the youth of Khamaed Gewog.
  7. Beautification & site development activities are ongoing for the cafeteria as additional work at Genteygang (Khamaed Gewog).
  8. Gasa-Lingzhi Trek Route with the budget of Nu. 4 M. 19 km completed during FY 2019-2020 & 2020-2021 and expected to complete in FY 2021-2022 (Left with 15 km).

Issues and Recommendations

  1. Forestry Clearance

Currently, dzongkhag has to apply to Gasa Park Range Office, and they forward to JDNP, Damji, which is then forwarded to MoAF, Thimphu for clearance. The Dzongkhag proposed to delegate the autonomy to JDNP, Damji, for clearance.

Issuing forest clearance is as per the Forest and Nature Conservation Rules 2017 and for the protection of the system and to provide check and balance, the department is coming up with an online Forest Clearance System to reduce the turnaround time and enhance service delivery in the future.

It was reported that the current system of issuing clearance is considered one of the best models in the world, and Bhutan received substantial financial support from international donors through Bhutan for Life.

  1. Poor quality for Blacktopping Punakha-Gasa Highway

The road to Gasa is categorized as Secondary National Highway (SNH), and the standard of 40 mm AC thickness is used for blacktopping the road. Due to harsh climatic conditions and continuous rainfall, potholes and patches along the road are apparent due to water percolation (seepage). Dzongkhag requested to increase the thickness of blacktopping, irrespective of SNH specification, for better durability.

The official present during the meeting clarified the dzongkhag that existing pavement design is based on the traffic and water management in the area and depending upon the case-by-case situation. The road from Punakha to Gasa is considered a Secondary National Highway because Gasa is one of the Tourist Hot Spots and is frequently visited by locals due to hot springs. The official assured to carry out the resurfacing works of 7.3 km with spillover budget from this financial year and the remaining 5 km in the 2021-2022 financial year.

  1. Out of school children prominent in Lunana Gewog

More children discontinue their studies in the highland of Lunana and Laya at a young age and the dzongkhag struggles to keep children in school even today. There are 12 dropouts from Lunana. Dzongkhag requested a chopper service one in a month for an improved supply of green vegetables to the school to curb the situation.

Representatives from the Ministry of Education clarified that the Government has supported lifting school teachers by Chopper in order to increase the teaching duration and improve the quality of education in the school among glaciers.

Officials acknowledged that the issue was genuine.  However, airlifting vegetables will have substantial financial implications to the Government (Est. Nu. 15 M annually). Constructing Greenhouse with the support from MoAF was recommended for sustainability.

The Government already distributed the Greenhouse to the villagers and the schools but it was challenging to have vegetables when required due to harsh weather. It was not possible to get nutrients rich items like meat and eggs. If not monthly, supplying vegetable items once in three months was discussed during the meet. This issue would be discussed further.

The meeting concluded with the discussion on Dzongkhag’s Annual Performance Agreement (APA) for the financial year 2021-2022 and other pertinent issues concerning the local government leaders and the participants.