Thursday, June 18, 2009

Punatshangchhu: a River to Revolution

The Pho chhu and the Mo chhu in Punakha combine and form a bigger river called Punatshangchhu; meaning “Punakha River”. The name remains even when it flows through the Wangdue valley.
It was just a river (name of a river actually) the other year but now a life changing revolution. Ever since the hydro electric project began the name “Punatshangchhu” became symbolic to power, money, lavishness, snob, etc.
Besides the bigger national dream of the biggest Hydro power project, we ordinary had our own dreams coming true with the Punatshangchhu: jobs for thousands, schools, hospitals, public service vehicles, business boom, etc. etc. But what happens now? The valley lost its innocence with the project. People are hiring out everything to Punatshangchhu: Building, truck, car, house, hut, land… Thank god Punatshangchhu doesn’t hire eyes; otherwise people are ready.
Ordinary people are losing homes, the landlords no more want tenants, whom they had hard time getting in earlier days. House vacating Notices are sent in like love letters in most household in Wangdue. The denial of the notices result in rent hike far beyond human reasoning; the value of compassion has burnt itself in the desire of huge Punatshangchhu offers. With hardly any building left behind by the Punatshangchhu, Where would the tenants go?
We ordinary cannot find a way out now, we can forgive the road damage and blocks caused by huge Punatshangchhu trucks and machines but we want our homes back. Please don’t buy away our living…

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