Nima Wangdi  

The Guma gewog administration in Punakha on February 28 allegedly cancelled the irrigation canal construction contract work, which it awarded to Lakhu community contractor a day ago. It was an irrigation canal repair work in Lakhu chiwog.

The community contractor, Namgay claimed that the work was awarded on February 27 and cancelled the following day. “I was called to the gewog office that day and they took away all the documents that were given to me while awarding the work.”

Namgay accused the gup and three other gewog officials to have asked Nu 100,000 from the work cost since the irrigation canal repair work will not cost as much as the amount allocated for the work. He said the team threatened to cancel the job if he did not agree to their demand.

The work was cancelled after he refused to pay.

Namgay said he had already made advance payments to his labourers and procured cement since the gewog was in rush to complete the work on time.

On March 1, the work was given to another community contractor, which shared the same name to his contract, Lakhu Community Contract. He said he is still wondering why his work was snatched away and given to another contractor. The gewog administration did not explain the contract cancellation.

Namgay said that the work was worth more than Nu 0.5 million.

He requested the dzongkhag administration to look into the matter. Dzongkhag administration referred the case to the gewog administration, he said. “I have not heard anything as of yet.”

“I expected the dzongkhag to investigate the case since the gewog officials were directly involved. But the dzongkhag forwarded the case to the gewog with whom I had the problem,” Namgay said.

He claimed he was again called to the gewog office and alleged that they asked him to sign a document stating that the matter has been resolved which he refused.

He then filed a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on April 5. “I was told that the ACC officials are investigating other older cases for now and my case is in line.”

Guma Gup Kinley Gyeltshen said he did not decide on the cancellation of the contract work alone and that it was the decision of the gewog contract committee.

He said the gewog administration has all the documents that justify why the work was cancelled. He agreed to share those documents with Kuensel. After waiting for more than a week, he has not been able to share the documents.