Road: The blacktopping work on Riju-Bartsham gewog centre (GC) road that the Department of Roads (DoR) took over from contractor in August is expected to be completed soon.

The contractor’s work progress was found to be very poor and the contract was terminated. In eight months, the contractor had completed only about 13 percent of the work. The work was then retendered.

The Nu 43.8 million contract was awarded to JM builders Pvt. Ltd in October. Assistant engineer with DOR’s field sub-division office at Rangjung, Ugyen Dorji, said the contractor is currently mobilising resources.

“The contractor is processing quarry clearances and is in the process of procuring a crusher machine. Works on the ground is expected to begin soon,” he said.

The quarry site has already been identified at Dzongthung and the space to place the crusher machine has also been cleared. Tripper trucks and JCV excavators have been mobilised and workers are expected to reach the site soon.

Wet mix macadam of 100mm will be laid as the road base material and 75mm of premix carpeting will be spread for blacktopping the 20.5km GC road.

However, villagers of Bartsham are worried that the new contractor might also leave the work incomplete.

“Had it not been for the termination of the first contract, blacktopping work would have been completed by now,” said Bartsham Gup Sonam Dorji. “Villagers now fear that same might happen again. I keep tab on the work progress with the contractor on a daily basis.”

He said that the gewog administration is helping the contractor to complete the work within set time period.

“I have reminded the contractor of our expectations. We are positive that work will be achieved within contract time with good quality,” he said.

Once complete, the blacktopped GC road is expected to reduce the one-hour travel time by about 30 percent. Apart from benefiting the 470 households in the gewog directly, the road will benefit people of Bidung and Ramjar (Trashiyangtse) gewogs.

Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang