More than 80 percent of the Nu 9.22 billion (B) allocated to the works and human settlement ministry this fiscal year will be utilised by the Department of Roads (DoR).

The DoR will be implementing Nu 7.5B worth of work this fiscal year. At the signing of the ministry’s annual performance agreement (APA) on August 7, Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that for the third APA, the ministry has taken extra care and given due consideration of the government’s priorities as it is the last year of the 11th Plan.

“We have taken stock of the overall 11th Plan target and we have also taken into consideration the government’s other priorities,” Lyonpo said. “The APA 2017-18 fiscal year is planned to fulfill the important mandate given in the 11th Plan.”

Of the total outlay, the department of engineering services is allotted Nu 1.15B and the department of human settlement, Nu 0.5B. The rest will be used for the secretariat’s activities.

The performance agreement signed between Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Lyonpo Dorji Choden targets to develop, improve and maintain quality road infrastructure that is safe, reliable, sustainable and well connected for improved transportation.

It also aims to provide efficient, safe and sustainable infrastructure development and engineering services; and to promote strategic human settlements for regionally balanced development and improved quality of life in both urban and rural areas.

With the introduction of the department of directorate services this year to handle the ministry’s administration, finance and procurement sections, the ministry today has four departments.

Highlighting the major activities that the ministry commits to achieve this year, Lyonpo said the DoR must complete the North East-West highway. “Apart from completing what is ongoing, we will be carrying out about 137 kms of pavement work that include black topping.”

The department also commits to blacktop gewog centre roads. Some 440 kms of blacktopping of gewog centre roads will be carried out apart from completing the ongoing work while 60 kms of the existing roads will be resurfaced.

The ministry commits to start construction of 25 bridges this year. However, construction of only 13 bridges will be completed this year.

Lyonpo said that the major infrastructure work that the department of engineering services have is the construction of integrated check posts at Rinchending and Bumpagang in Chhukha.

“We may not be able to complete 100 percent this financial year but we target to complete more than 90 percent of Rinchending check post and more than 50 percent of Bumpagang. A small portion of the work will spill over to the 12th Plan,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo said the department of engineering services, which also provides technical and policy support will prepare and finalise three policies on compliance and construction. “It also looks after the big projects under donor funded projects like ADB, World Bank and GoI which are mainly for urban development.”

The department of human settlement will accomplish about six local area plans and will also conduct various studies related to urban planning.

Lyonpo said that besides framing policies, the department would conduct eight different studies that will help urban planning this fiscal year.

Being a ministry responsible for developing physical infrastructure, the minister said that nature like rains, floods, the instability of landscape, and temperature at high altitude becomes a limiting factor to complete the work. Quality is another major challenge the ministry faces.

Dechen Tshomo