Since it started in 2014, about 55 percent of the works to rebuild the Wangduephodrang dzong have been completed.

The completed part of the dzong includes the kuenray,utse and part of the administrative block.

Project director, Kinley Wangchuk said that part of the administrative block, buildings adjoining the utse, construction of the service tunnel, dukhang, and drasha are yet to be completed. “We are targeting to complete the construction by 2021 and hand it over to the dzongkhag administration and the dratshang.”

The project receives numerous volunteers who sponsor meals and provide manual labour. The project has 351 workers and the sponsors have provided 165 meals until April 19.

The project welcomes volunteers, individuals as well as groups to contribute labour. Since late 2014, volunteers to date have contributed about 2,480 man-days worth of work. The highest number of volunteers turned up in 2015 and 2016.

Kinley Wangchuk said that the voluntary services and the sponsorship for meals not only help in the progress of the construction but also motivate the workers. “Even if they carry a stone, it helps. If 10 people come and work for a day, we are ahead by 10 men’s output.”

The project has so far spent Nu 470 million of the Nu 1 billion budget.

However, Kinley Wangchuk said that with the change in the scope of work, the project has proposed for an extra Nu 250 million in the 12th Plan.

The initial plan was to preserve the walls, which would also save money and labour. “But when we implement it, it does not work as we cannot take risk of building a new structure on old walls,” he said.

He said that one of the biggest challenges the project faced and would face is the construction of the utse and the service tunnels as they are first of a kind. Another day-to-day challenge the project faces, Kinley Wangchuk said is managing the different types of labours the project has.

The project is also implementing new techniques such as service tunnels, fire hydrants, and seismic isolation technology to make the structures stronger. “When you see from the outside, it’s just sand and stone but on the inside, we have reinforced it from the foundation to the roof,” Kinley Wangchuk said.

Karma Cheki | Wangdue