The other two were terminated for procurement lapses

Roads: Although two contract works of the 80.58km Dalbari-Dagana secondary national highway are suspended, construction on the first 29-km long section is progressing well.

The first package between Dalbari and Odalthang is constructed by a joint venture between Kalika, a Nepalese company, and Yangkhil. It starts from Dalbari, 8km from Lhamoizingkhag and ends at Odalthang

The accomplishment so far is well beyond the targets despite the heavy monsoon, officials said. The contractor had already completed more than 20km formation cutting of the road in June against a target of 12km.

Project Coordinator, Pema Thinley said 70 percent of the works are complete on the bridge construction. The target was only 50 percent.

“We have good progress, if the works with the other two projects had continued, almost 80 percent of the formation cutting on the entire stretch would have been completed by now,” he said.

Project officials said that they are assessing and preparing for the retender of the two sections whose work was terminated after the Anti Corruption Commission found out major procurement lapses.

“We’re doing whatever is possible at our level in order to keep things ready for the retender,” Pema Thinley said.

Meanwhile, the termination of the two sections has left the local infrastructure like irrigation, drinking water and roads in bad conditions. The project management is engaged in maintaining the roads to keep them open for traffic and restore the drinking water supply.

“Considering the extent of damage to public infrastructure, the government approved about Nu 3M from the project fund for restoration,” Pema Thinley said.

One of the packages, package C between Gesarling and Dagapela, stretching more than 31km, involved widening the existing road.

The project restored cross drainages, culverts and drainage systems, farm roads, earthen channels and drinking water supply.  “The main challenge for us is to keep the road leading up to the dzongkhag headquarter open for traffic as the it is muddy and slippery despite our best efforts,” he said.

Two earth moving machines and two trucks are deployed to keep the road open all the time. The officials brought in an excavator to clear a roadblock and install drinking water pipes, as the existing machinery was inadequate.

The management also bought pipes to restore the irrigation channels for the farmers in time for paddy transplantation.

“Farmers from Gesarling gewog told the project officials to do it properly after the monsoon once the rains subside,” he said.

The cabinet terminated the two contract packages in January this year after the Anti-Corruption Commission ruled them as cases of mis-procurement.

The two contracts are worth about Nu 754M. The 20km package B worth Nu 398 million between Odalthang and Gesarling was awarded to Tundi, a Nepalese company. The package C between Gesarling and Dagapela, stretching more than 31km worth Nu 356 million, was contracted to a joint venture between Gaseb Construction Company and SPML from India.

The multi-sectoral committee submitted to the cabinet recently the assessment of the physical work done and compensation owed to contractors.

The Cabinet is yet to come out with a decision on compensation and when to start retendering the terminated contracts.

By Tshering Palden