You are here: Home > Bhutan > Ethnic Groups > People > Sakten > Brokpas > Brokpas Search
Bhutan Information
Bhutan - Ethnic Groups & People
Bhutan's People Merak - Sakten
Sakteng Electricity reached last two gewogs
Development trends
Bhutan Information
Bhutan Tourist Destinations
Video Bhutan Videos
previous pageend
Merak - Sakten (Sakteng)
Electricity expected to reach the highland areas
Merak and Sakteng

Villagers of Merak and Sakteng gewogs in north Trashigang are buying rice cookers, water boilers and TV sets with electricity expected to reach these highland areas by June this year.

Some houses have even done the internal wiring.

"Majority of the work is completed, only stringing the transmission wires remain," the Bhutan Power Corporation manager in Trashigang, Lobzang Dorji, said.

Sakteng has 380 households and Merak has 260 households.

Gewog officials said they have already transported transformers for Tholong and Joenkhar villages, and are hurrying to transport the others before rain starts. "Once the transformers are in place, it would take less than three days to fix them," Lobzang Dorji said.

The erection of electric poles have been completed in Merak, and stringing of the wires are going on. Stringing is also simultaneously being done in Sakteng.

Though the work, which began in April last year, is being departmentally done, the villagers contribute labour, for which they are paid Nu 150 a day.

Of the 15 gewogs in Trashigang dzongkhag, 13 have electricity, except Merak and Sakteng.

In June 2008, 205 villages had electricity. At the end of the current plan, 258 villages are to be electrified. There are more than 300 households with alternative power source in the dzongkhag.

The government's target is to provide electricity to all households by 2013. Over 40,000 rural households will be electrified during the within the plan period.

Khashithang village under Merak, which was supposed to receive power in the next plan, will be connected in the current plan.

As of now, the residents of these two gewogs live harsh lives, collecting firewood and depending on kerosene for lighting.

"It'll definitely help us stay warm at affordable rates," the Merak community primary school principal, Tashi, said.

Civil servants pay about Nu 8,000 to Nu 10,000 to villagers to collect firewood for heating and cooking, mostly using the bukhari, a wood fed stove.

Villagers said that their lives would change forever.

"The benefits are great. We can save trees as we'd be cooking, lighting, and heating using electric appliances," a villager, Lobzang said.

Sangay Dorji, Sakteng gewog mangap, said work in the offices would also become easy. "It'd also make our services to the people more efficient," Sangay said.


Development trends
Despite the remoteness of the Merak and Sakteng geogs development trends are being incorporated. Health and family planning methods are being introduced and education promoted. Brokpas being semi-nomads initially had no awareness of family planning. Today, they have access to various family planning methods like condoms, DMPA, Copper-T, Vasectomy, and Tubectomy but use still remains low. "The people have come up with the notion of big family being very important as a large number of children means more hands for cattle herding," said the study.
"Usage of family planning methods remains low." Another reason for the aversion to family planning is the fear of extinction.

According to the study general health conditions in Merak and Sakteng are affected by imbalanced nutritional intake, poor sanitation, prevalence of some contagious and infectious diseases.

"The general health of Brokpas does not seem encouraging since the people still have not learnt about sanitation and other hygienic health awareness," the study said. " This can be accounted by the low level of literacy among the people and late introduction of the available health facilities." The study found the most common diseases included diarrhoea, dysentery, respiratory tract infection, worm infections, skin, eye, teeth and gum diseases as well as anemia. In Sakteng 18 known cases of STD was also found. Inroads have also been made in the education sector since the first primary school in Merak was established in 1987. In 1999 the first group of twelve Brokpa students appeared for class six common examinations.

Enrolment also increased to 68 boys and 42 girls. However, according to the study the great importance attached by the Brokpas to Yak herding has an adverse impact on the education of their children. Not many parents are keen on sending their children to school. To ensure the education of this remote community, admissions have been made compulsory for children aged seven years and above and irregularity of students to schools are dealt with a fine of Nu. 10.00. However, the impact of these efforts seem to have little or no bearing on the attitude, the study found.

The future

Despite the rapidly changing socio-economic scenario the Brokpas have always maintained their uniqueness. However, this "uniqueness" is slowly getting adulterated by the influx of various elements as a result of modern development process, the study found. While the government has been making efforts to bring the Brokpas in line with the pace of development in the rest of the country the effort has been fruitless because of the low level of response and acceptance of development activities.

Contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper
Information on Bhutan
East- West- Highway: Crossing the Country
Yak farming
Merak and Sakten Brokpa community
Merak and Sakten Khaling Tsechhu
Merak The butter tshogpa of Cherbaling
Religion in Bhutan
Culture in Bhutan
People in Bhutan
Tshechu Festivals
Bhutan Photo Galleries
Punakha Dzong
Dzongs in Bhutan
Mountain Biking
Lhuentse and Mongar
Trongsa and Zhemgang
Paro and Haa
Laya-Gasa - Lingzhi - Lunana
Southern Bhutan
Photo Galleries
Dzongs and Monasteries in Bhutan
Dochula - Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens
East-West-Highway by motorcycle
Mongar and Lhuentse
Videos: Rafting, Tshechu, Motorbiking, Roads ...
previous page Bhutan Home