It now turns out that there is another face - as yet unknown and even more sinister - to the deplorable act of the destruction of the Jumolhari Base Camp Trek trail. It appears that the Austrian Government’s aid money was never intended to be used for stringing ugly power lines across the pristine wilderness of the Jumolhari Base Camp Trek trail. In fact it was clearly stated how that money was to be used. How it came to be used to destroy the Jumolhari Base Camp Trek trail is any body’s guess.
A reader of my blog - Michal Thoma sent me a link to the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) website where it is clearly stated that the RGoB would use the aid money for:
“……. construction of two mini hydropower plants, one in Soe (50KW) and one in Lingzhi (100Kw) .…."
The following link gives the details of what the money was to be used for:
This means that we have not only destroyed one of the most beautiful treks in the world but we have gone and reneged on a solemn understanding reached with a development partner of long standing.
We can accept that there may have been justifiable reasons for the government to deviate from the original purpose for which the aid money was given. But what is most galling is that the government has gone and used the money to cause irrevocable destruction to the environment - even while being aware that the whole purpose of the ADA funding was to save the environment - by providing funding to do the less harmful method of delivering electricity to the pristine Soe and Lingzhi regions – by opting to construct mini hydro-power plants.
It can happen only in Bhutan: that a most environmentally friendly project ends up being the most destructive!
I wonder what the Government of Austria has to say to this Machiavellian act?