Friday, June 17, 2016

Devastation of Bhutan's Most Famous Trek Route II

I was not aware that the issue was already reported in the Kuensel. One of my readers sent me a link to the Kuensel website where reporter Kinga Dema reports on the matter that was apparently discussed and deliberated upon. And yet, despite all that nothing was done to prevent the systematic destruction of the country’s most beautiful trekking route.

It is sad.

Why should it be any single agency’s responsibility to endeavor to do the right thing? Why should the onus be on the TCB or the ABTO or the JDNP, to take on the responsibility of ensuring less destructive and harmful ways of doing things? From which planet is BPC that they are exempt from their responsibility to ensure that they play their part in doing whatever they can to protect a national resource that will far outweigh every other consideration?

The Kuensel report says that the BPC went ahead and devastated the country’s most famous trek route because some agency did not come up with Nu.755,126.00 for realignment of the transmission lines. That is rather stupid. Because the question then is: why did they align it in a way that would entail expensive realignment, in the first place? Didn't they have sense enough to know or understand the consequences of their folly?

Gem Tshering the Managing Director of BPC told the Kuensel that BPC is under no liberty to change the right of way as frequently as they pleased. That is a stupid argument. The reason is, whether the right of way is by the trek route or through the wilderness, the transmission corridor will require all the trees falling within the corridor to be felled and cleared. So how has he saved or minimized damage to the vegetation? He also states that he is on a dateline to complete the work by 2017. So what he means is that he would cause millions of dollars of loss to the country - in his rush to complete a project within a set time frame?

Why did he not consider taking the transmission line from Guhisawa to Thombushong to Soe and then over the Bonte-La into Jangothang? There would be less destruction since there is hardly any vegetation on that route. Obviously this will be a longer route - but for the sake of the environment, some additional costs can be considered.

Some one rightly told me few days back: The reason why everything is going wrong in this country is because people who are in the decision making positions are people who lack institutional memory - people with crooked minds and no hearts.


  1. Where was NEC?They are assholes when they deal with smaller establishments but invisible when such destruction takes place. Where was the Department of Parks? And foremost where was the guy whose image glowed so much after the TED Talks on Bhutan being carbon neutral etc.

    Bhutan needs to assess how much is spent on institutes involved in conservation vis-a-vis the results. In my opinion, we are not getting our money's worth. We are just investing in personnel so bogged down attending conferences so much so that they have no time to see the bigger picture. Sad but this is the situation right now. People think everything is alright as long as you know how to quote GNH.

  2. Shame we couldn't come up with 7.5 lakhs when we waste so much on meaningless workshops and seminars. Meaningless expenses is most this month when govt. Agencies go on a spending spree as the financial year comes to a close. An interesting case study for RAA would be to study the implications of the financial year closure on govt budget. This is also the time when budget is reappropriated for study tours and Project Managers are mist popular.

  3. Killing the golden goose in the name of Progress.

  4. indeed a very sad reality. I did the trek with a group in fall - finishing at Gasa-Laya. That last part is also badly destroyed by wires; electricity poles, and an upcoming road. I find a more and more difficult to write a nice forward for the upcoming third edition of the trekking guide book "Bhutan A Trekker's Guide" (due summer 2017). My group was pretty shocked about the trail both ends and were very happy to be on trek before the el poles where up on the Nyle La pass - enjoying the pass without el wires. But the trek down from Gasa was absolute ugly. Pity. How to sell trekking in Bhutan for $250 per day??? I wish Bhutan all the best with the trekking business. Bart Jordans -

  5. dear Yeshey - would really like to discuss this subject with you. It is hard breaking what is happening to the treks in Bhutan. I have no idea to use a 'blog'. I would love to discuss over email - - with regards Bart Jordans