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Set up, but not yet much in use

Villagers have to be brought up to speed about the role of these facilities 
Community Centres Although community centres in most gewogs are up and running, government to citizen (G2C) project officials said there were not many people taking advantage of the services offered.

This was attributed to a lack of awareness about such a facility among villagers.

Senior program officer, Nim Tshering, said, although community centres were established and some of the services made available online, most villagers did not know about them.

“We realised this, when we went to gewogs to advocate gups, mangmis and tshogpas about such facilities,” he said.

The project, aimed at expediting services by going online, and taking it closer to people in the gewogs, was being done in partnership with Bhutan Post and the department of information technology and telecom (DITT).

While there are fully functional community centres in 23 gewogs at present, there are also offline community centres in 77 gewogs, services that do not require internet connectivity.

Project director, Jigme Thinley, over a telephonic interview, said there will be more community centres by the end of this year.

He said, of the 37 services available online, most availed only 17 services, like civil registration, forestry and community permits.

He said there were 20 more services available online that have not received a single applicant.  More online services were almost ready and would come in soon after migration of data was completed.

Jigme Thinley agreed on the lack of advocacy, and said more awareness among the community was needed to make use of services available at the community centres.

The DITT head, Chencho, said they have completed 100 community centres in 100 gewogs in the first phase, and 85 more centres will be constructed in the second phase by next year.

He said automating the services and connectivity were some of the hurdles.

“But once the gewogs are connected with fibre optic, which is being worked on by Bhutan Power corporation, this won’t be a problem at all,” he said.

Meanwhile, to generate more awareness on the centres, gewog administrative officers (GAO) are undergoing training on G2C in Phuentsholing.

“So that they’ll go back to villages and create awareness on using the services,” Chencho said. “They’ll have to monitor and see that the centre is being operated everyday.”

The Nu 280.7M worth centres are funded by Chigpen Rigphel, SAARC development fund, government of India and Swiss development corporation.

By Yangchen C Rinzin

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