Construction: Nearly 37 years after the first hydropower project was constructed in Chukha, the Construction Development Corporation Ltd (CDCL) is preparing to take up tunnelling works in hydropower projects.

CDCL will be the first Bhutanese construction company to embark on hydropower project construction works. As of today, the company was focusing mainly on construction of infrastructures such as road and bridges.

“We are in the preparatory stage  to take up hydropower construction works,” CDCL Department of Hydropower Services (DHS) General Manager, Karma Gayley said.

The company has been preparing for hydropower works for sometime now.

“The corporation is not venturing into hydropower services abruptly because we have been planning and preparing for the last four or five years,” the company’s CEO Phuntsho Gyeltshen said.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay recently posted on Facebook stating that the government is working to get CDCL work in hydropower tunnelling.

Druk Holding and Investments (DHI), the parent company has approved a hydropower business plan worth a little over Nu 1.2 billion (B) for  the corporation.

“DHI has agreed to give 30 percent amounting to Nu 374  million (M) out of about Nu 1.2B as equity,” Karma Gayley said. “The remaining 70 percent will be working capital in the form of credit line from financial institutions.”

Nu 374M will be used for preparatory plans to procure equipment. DHI has released Nu 204.26M for the current fiscal year to procure hydropower construction equipment such as a drill jumbo, shotcrete machine and a wheel loader, among others. The remaining budget will be released in the 2017 financial year.

DHS Deputy General Manager, Ugyen Gyeltshen said that a tender worth Nu 111M for procurement of major hydropower construction equipment has already been floated.

“Equipment are procured before the company is awarded its first hydropower contract because delivery of the machineries takes time,” Ugyen Gyeltshen said.

CDCL by virtue of being a construction company also has an arsenal of assorted construction equipment of over 360 machineries.

The corporation has already started its initial phase of recruitment of frontline workers such as operators, surveyors, blasters and welders. Engineers and geologists are also being recruited. By the end of March, CDCL is planning to recruit 47 employees who will engage in preparatory works.

“As far as possible our idea is to form a hydropower construction company comprising mostly of Bhutanese,” Karma Gayley said.

CDCL is also receiving positive responses from Bhutanese working under the Mangdechhu and Punatshangchhu hydropower projects.

“Since the construction of Chukha Hydropower Plant, many Bhutanese have worked in mega hydropower construction works and gained experience who are now willing to join us,” Ugyen Gyeltshen said.

CDCL will start from tunnelling works and gradually take up mechanical, civil and electrical works in future as it develops.  An engineer and some technicians were trained in road tunnelling works by sending them to Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh, India last year.

Although CDCL is yet to get its first hydropower project work, the company is positive of securing its first hydropower assignment.

“With the support from the government we are confident about the tunnelling works as long as we get the job,” Karma Gayley said.

The CEO said hydropower works will be a challenge but CDCL is planning to go big.

“We are determined and confident to take the task since CDCL’s success will also benefit the private sector at large,” Phuntsho Gyeltshen said.

Tempa Wangdi