Infrastructure: Slope stabilisation and protection works at the Rinchending checkpoint and Reldri High School in Phuentsholing began on August 19 with a groundbreaking ceremony.

This mitigation work is among the three National Adoption Programme of Action (NAPA) II projects in Phuentsholing thromde funded by the Global Environment Facilities (GEF) that is coordinated by UNDP. The cost of this project is Nu 93.92 million (M).

The work has been awarded to a joint venture between Japanese construction firm M/s Marushin Shitaka and local firm M/s Yangkhil Construction. Although the tender for the project was awarded on June 6 this year and scheduled to be completed in 18 months, heavy rainfall prevented an earlier start.

Work is expected to proceed full swing only by this month’s end. “But we are done with the mobilisation part,” an official with M/s Marushin Shitaka, Tenjing Sherpa, said. “Heavy rains are still expected so we will wait for this month to end.”

M/s Marushin Shitaka, meanwhile, will begin constructing a gravel road that will begin at the oil depot located near Rinchending checkpoint and end at the border.

About 20 to 30 percent of the stabilisation work will be bioengineered. Vegetation suitable for landslide prone areas will be planted.

The rest of the road will be stabilised using nail walls. This method of drilling into the soil in landslide-prone areas is called “soil nailing” and is being used for the first time in the country, thromde officials said.

Other areas prone to landslides and floods in Phuentsholing thromde have also been identified. The area below the Rinchending goenpa and below the town’s old hospital will receive landslide protection infrastructure, while two sites along the Barsa river in Pasakha will be river trained.

The river training project will cost Nu 125M.

The thromde’s project engineer, Gautam Thapa, said works for Rinchending goenpa has been tendered out. The project will cost Nu 28M.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing