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Revamping Hole in the Wall: At what cost?

Half a decade after it made its presence in the heart and peripheral limbs of the nation, the Hole in the Wall, a component of the grand Chiphen Rigphel project, has really ended up being a fat hole in the wall.

Looking at what it has now become, did we hurry unnecessarily, or were we hopelessly enamoured with an anachronistic machine? What seems to come to light this day is that our planners got it all wrong.

The nation’s e-governance system has ages to catch up with. The project has not empowered the school system. Our tertiary institutes may have dreams to go hi-tech, but they are more often than not faced with poor Internet speed. Waste, electronic or otherwise, is growing.

As the dream of ICTised Bhutan went down the drain, how expensive had it been for the nation? Give or take, we may have trained more than 200 leaders, 7,000 civil servants, 8,400 youth, 5,000 teachers, 2,400 college students, 800 professionals, and 1,200 vulnerable youth, but how far have they brought us to in terms of achieving the bigger dream of the project?

Today, as we write, almost all the “hole in the wall” facilities are defunct. This is another classic example of how Bhutanese plan projects. When the project left our small centres, the machines began to die one after another and no one, particularly the offices that were delegated the responsibility with, did anything about the machines.

Officials and the ministry responsible, under whose vigilant eyes the projects took shape, may want to defend themselves with kinds and kinds of reasons and studies, some of which may not even be relevant. But the real issue is not about how comfortably they can get away with. It is about resource waste that the whole project led to.

Now MoIC had plans to “revamp” Hole in the Wall project in the 12th Plan. We need to understand what this means. There is really no need for such a thing anywhere in Bhutan this day. Our focus has to be to pool resources and use them where we need to most.

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