Connectivity: Construction of the Mangdezam that started six years ago near Rendhibi over the Mangdechhu in Zhemgang is still ongoing. Disagreements between the Department of Roads (DoR) and the contractor are causing the delay.

DoR and the contractor have not been able to agree on the cost of building the structure. The construction of the bridge started on March 30, 2011.

Construction officials said it is the right time to take machinery to the other side of the river as its level has gone down. However, because of the problem between the department and the contractor, the work could not resume.

Santalall and Brothers, the construction company, is based in Silliguri, India.

DoR had taken up construction work on the right abutment and completed the work on June 30 this year. The completed work was handed over to the contractor.

Santalall and Brother’s Ashok Basnet said that construction of the bed block has been completed. “We could not continue the work on the rate that was agreed three years ago. We have proposed a revised rate which is yet to be approved,” he said. “We were given an 18-months to complete the bridge but we were unable to continue the work.”

Officials at the site said they have been at the site jobless for almost two months now. They have also sent back all the non-Bhutanese labourers.

Chief Engineer of DoR’s regional office in Tingtibi, Karma Dorji, said the matter of the new rate proposed by the contractor has been forwarded to the headquarters for approval. “The previous contract period has already expired and we have to draw a new one.”

Nima Wangdi | Rendhibi