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Plans to commercialize Gasa Tshachu underway

If things go as planned, locals and tourists visiting the much-thronged Tshachu (hot spring) in Gasa would have to pay certain fee for availing services and facilities at the Tshachu.

An initial service called “Pay and Use” service has in fact already been piloted at the Tshachu. A fee of Nu 500 is charged per individual per session with the session duration depending on demand and situation. This means that if there are clients waiting, each session is of two hours long, while the session duration can be extended if one likes provided there are no clients waiting.

Gasa Dzongdag, Dorji Dhradhul said the objective behind commercialization of the Tshachu is a part of the ‘Good to Great Gasa’ initiative that envisions achievement of “self-reliance” by the Dzongkhag.

“We have already started to pilot “Pay and Use” service at the Tshachu. The facilities are enclosed with toilet and rest space facility,” he added.

Describing the commercialization of the Tshachu as part of the Dzongkhag Development activity, Dorji Dhradhul explained that the people will be the major owners of the venture as the commercial venture is expected to be operated as “Community Owned Company” (CoC).

He added that the CoC with people of four gewogs of the Dzongkhag would have a minimum of 50% of the company’s share, while the remaining 50% will be floated for business. The CoC will fix the rates for Tshachu bathing timing.

“The Tshachu will be operated on a “resort mode”, but there will be always a separate facility like just know where Bhutanese can still avail free services. The whole Tshachu area will be developed. This facility is open to everyone as long as they are willing to pay,” the Dzongdag said, adding that the move is Gasa’s vision and dream.

Meanwhile, the Gasa Tshachu, which is about two hours drive downhill from the road point and beside the Mochhu, is famous for its healing powers. It attracts more than 5,000 visitors a year, with majority of the people visiting the hot spring in winter. Services and infrastructure at Gasa Tshachu include four main ponds of about four feet deep, all roofed, and each meant for different illnesses with a carrying capacity of about more than ten people. There is also a pond bigger than the present pond constructed in an open space, guest houses that are available for rent.  The Dzongkhag has also introduced special dedicated resting place facility that is located near to the Tshachu ponds.

Meanwhile, some people that Business Bhutan talked to say that it might be a good initiative to commercialize the Tshachu given the possibility of bringing developments for the Dzongkhag, however, they are skeptical whether the ordinary people could afford it. They say there are people who stay at the Tshachu for months. Total commercialization, though not decided when, might happen anytime soon.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu

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