The move is being pursued to prevent a similar flooding that occurred last year

Safety: Fearing more flooding this summer, more than 35 business entities along the Amochhu embankment are collaborating with the Phuentsholing thromde to divert the river.

The Natural Resources Development Corporation Ltd and the forest department are also involved.

An estimated budget of Nu 3.8 million (M) is required to divert the river above the Bangay Bazaar point. Thromde officials said the budget will be arranged on a cost sharing basis between the businesses and agencies.

Last year in July, a massive flood destroyed properties worth millions. Illegal settlers along the riverbank also lost their homes and belongings. The flood also washed away the embankment located near the business settlement.

The river has already reached close to most of the business establishments which are mostly workshops.

The proprietor of TCS Engineering workshop, Tashi Wangdi said the risks are much higher this year. “The river is flowing very close,” he said.

Tashi Wangdi is among those who have leased land for business from the Royal Insurance Corporation Ltd. However, he also said that many did not turn up for the meeting held on May 24.

“People are still expecting the thromde to do the work,” Tashi Wangdi said. “Some said they would cooperate, some are not showing much interest.”

Phuentsholing Thrompon, Uttar Kumar Rai, said that there has not been such an initiative before.

“People just waited for others to take the initiative,” the thrompon said.

While the collaboration is timely, Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said that it is still not sustainable in the long run.

With many expecting the land reclamation project to start and improve safety, the thrompon said that more concrete measures will have to be pursued if the reclamation project takes more time.

It has also not yet been decided how much money each business will provide for the diversion.

Besides monitoring the work, the thromde is also planning to inject funds for the diversion. To complete the work faster, four excavators and six tipper trucks will be deployed. The road along the banks will also be maintained.

There are about 40 to 50 business entities located along the Amochhu embankment. But it has not yet been confirmed how many of the businesses will participate.

Another round of meeting will be conducted next week. After the decision is made, the diversion work is expected to conclude by the end of June this year.

The diversion plan was initiated by the business establishments.

Although the river is already swelling, the thromde and business entities expect to complete the diversion work on time.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing