Chukha

Chukha District is one of the 20 dzongkhag (districts) comprising Bhutan. The major town is Phuentsholing which is the gateway city along the sole road which connects India to western Bhutan. Chukha is the commercial and the financial capital of Bhutan. With Bhutan’s oldest hydropower plant, Chukha hydel (completed in 1986-88), and Tala Hydroelectricity Project, the country’s largest power plant, Chukha is the dzongkhag which contributes the most to the GDP of the country. Also located in Chukha district are some of the country’s oldest industrial companies like the Bhutan Carbide Chemical Limited (BCCL) and the Bhutan Boards Products Limited (BBPL).   *(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)

History: The Chhukha Hydropower project is Bhutan’s oldest mega power project. Out of the country’s several major river basins, the Wangchhu, which uses the discharges of Thimphu, Paro and Haa valleys, was chosen as the project site as it offered the best scope for constructing the first power project due to the existence of road links and other infrastructures. After conducting detailed studies, an Agreement for the implementation of the Project was signed between the two governments of Bhutan and India on March 23, 1974. The project was fully funded by GoI with 60 per cent grant and 40 per cent loan at the interest rate of 5 per cent payable over a period of 15 years after commissioning. The Chhukha Hydel Project Authority (CHPA), which was formed in 1975, was entrusted with the responsibility of constructing and commissioning of the project.

Since no project of such a magnitude was constructed earlier, the period from 1974 to 1978 was mainly spent on infrastructure development, like access to roads, schools, hospitals and residential colonies. The main civil and electro-mechanical works of the project started in 1979. The project’s first 84 MW hydro-turbine Unit was commissioned on September 7, 1986, and by August 22, 1988, all the other three Units were commissioned. On completion, it was inaugurated by the then President of India His Excellency R. Venkataraman, in the presence of His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck on October 21, 1988. The project completion cost estimates at Nu. 2,465 million and generates over 1,800 MU annually. Most of the generated energy is exported to India.

The erstwhile Chhukha Hydro Power Corporation Limited (CHPCL) was formed on July 1, 1991, under the 1989 Company’s Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan to operate and maintain the hydroelectric power plant and the transmission system and to export surplus power to India after meeting the domestic requirement. With the formation of the Druk Green, CHPCL became an operational unit under Druk Green and was renamed as Chhukha Hydropower Plant. (All information gathered from here.)

Transport:

Airport: Chukha Hydropower Plant is served by the Paro International Airport which is located at a distance of 80 km.

Road: Chukha is connected to Paro and Thimphu by the artery road running from Phuentsholing city bordering India.

Tourist Interest: The Chukha Hydropower Project is the main tourist attraction here. Permission is required to enter the Hydropower city. The permit can be obtained from the Thimphu immigration office.

Read my experience in Chukha.

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