Dechen Dolkar  

Contract has been extended for the employees of Punatshangchhu-I Hydroelectric Project Authority (PHPA-I) until June 30 as interim measures.

There are 798 PHPA-I employees on contract—743 Bhutanese and 55 Indians as of March 31, 2022.

The Managing Director of PHPA-I, Rajesh Kumar Chandel, said that the contract term was extended as interim measures upon approval of the chairman until the manpower rationalisation report is out.

However, in the earlier interview with the chairman of PHPA-I, Lyonpo Loknath Sharma, said that the contract extension of PHPA-I employees after April 2022 would be decided based on the outcome of the human resource committee’s meeting.

As of March 2022, 87.44 percent of physical work was completed.

It was pointed out that there are excess employees mainly at the supervisory and support levels and a few at the engineers’ level in the powerhouse circle, civil infrastructure division, contracts and procurement circle and environment circle.

The PHPA-I MD said that just enough manpower was employed since the inception considering the peak requirement of the project. However, manpower was in excess, he said, as the project is tapering down towards its completion.

“While physical works are nearing 90 percent completion, there are various contractual and administrative works in progress, so certain number of manpower shall be required till the end of the project,” MD said.

He said that for now the contract term of all employees was extended as an interim measure since the approval of rationalisation and phasing out would be based on findings of the HR rationalisation report and subsequent decision of the authority.

The HR rationalisation committee carried out the exercise and submitted the report to chairman in March 2022.

“The project is yet to get further directives from the chairman in this respect,” MD said.