Construction: The Hindu temple at Kuensel Phodrang that should have been completed long ago is still being built with only about 60 percent of the works complete. Construction began in November 2012.

The initial plan was to complete the construction in the 2013-14 financial year. The construction has missed the deadline by more than one and a half years.

Hindu Dharma Samudaya of Bhutan (HDSB) officials said a total of Nu 65M million) has been released for procurement and the construction of the temple. Now the HDSB is left with Nu 9.7M from the fund that was allocated for the temple.

The temple with Bhutanese architecture was expected to take about 15 months to complete on the 2.53 acres of land overlooking the Thimphu valley.

HDSB President Bhakti Ram Rizal said disagreement among members was one of the reasons that delayed the construction. “Although there has been some delay, about 60 percent of the work has been completed,” he said.

HDSB officials said besides the time consuming tender awarding process, import of some materials took longer than expected due to official procedures. The budgets, they said were also not released on time.

“Overall, the work is going on smoothly,” said the president.

However, some HDSB members are unhappy with the delay in construction. Pandit Tulasi Ram Bhandari from Sarpang, who visited the construction site along with some HDSB officials yesterday, said, “The work progress has been really slow. We should have finished the work a long time ago.”

He said additional expenditures had to be incurred as some portion of the works were demolished and rebuilt. “Some portion of the works had to be demolished and built again, which delayed the works and consumed time,” he said.

Another member of the Hindu community, UN Bhattarai, said the work quality was poor although a lot of time was taken. “We are not sure if the construction was executed as per the approved designs,” he said.

He also accused that some of the statues procured for the temple are “in bad shape” and that some of them should be replaced. The procured statues have been kept in the makeshift Durga temple in Motithang, Thimphu.

The temple will house a main shrine, a prabhachan (prayer) hall library with various collections of religious texts, and living quarters for the priest and caretaker.

Today, about a dozen workers are building the temple. Once completed, the temple will be the permanent place of Durga puja celebration.

Meanwhile, the HDSB’s two-day annual general meeting (AGM) will commence tomorrow.

Among other issues, the president said the AGM will discuss all issues related to the construction and the management of HDSB. “All issues will be discussed tomorrow,” the president said yesterday.

MB Subba