1986 – Chhukha Hydropower Project Commissioned
The construction of Bhutan’s first mega power project, the 336 MW Chhukha hydro-electric project on Wangchu river began in the 70s. The Nu. 2,460 million turnkey power plant was funded by the Government of India which provided a 60 percent grants and 40 percent loan at 5 percent per annum repayable in 15 years in equated annual installments. The first repayment was to be made 3 years after each withdrawal of the loan.
The project was successfully commissioned in 1986 but the project was handed over to Bhutanese management only in June 1991. The beneficiaries of the hydro plant outside Bhutan are West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Sikkim and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) of India. A large portion of the power generated is exported to India. Till Tala hydropower project was commissioned Chhukha was the biggest contributor to Bhutan’s exchequer.
The National Revenue Report of 2005-2006 reveals that Chukha Hydropower contributed Nu. 2,092.682 million which is 30.01% to the total revenue of Bhutan. The receipt during the year showed an increase of 8.75% or Nu. 168.395 million from the previous year’s collection.