The works and human settlement ministerial level-tendering committee has decided to terminate the contractor that is involved in the construction of a 2.5 million liter water treatment plant (WTP) at Pinchina in Samdrupjongkhar.

The committee forwarded its decision to the Samdrupjongkhar thromde on June 13, however, the thromde administration didn’t issue the termination letter to the contractor as Asian Development Bank (ADB) is investigating and reviewing the work progress.

Meanwhile, the contractor has written to the ministry stating that they assured to complete the construction works and commission the water supply by the end of this month. The Nu 89M project began in May 2016.

According to the committee, it was decided to terminate the works because the contractor has delayed the completion by the number of days for which the maximum amount of liquidated damages can be paid.

The initial deadline for the treatment plant was October 2017 but the contractor failed to complete on time and was given six months extension until April last year. However, the contractor again failed to complete the works.

The thromde administration gave a second extension in May 2018 but the contractor yet again failed to meet the deadline of November 15 last year.

Thromde’s infrastructure development department (IDD) head, Pema Chokey, said they didn’t issue the termination letter to the contractor because they are consulting with the ADB, which as funded the project.

She said ADB is investigating and reviewing the work progress among others and they would also conduct a joint assessment at the site soon. About 75 percent of the plant’s construction is completed. “We are waiting for the ADB’s decision to issue the termination letter to the contractor.”

The joint venture, Tundi-Tacho’s project engineer, Karma Kinley, said they have nothing to say about the committee’s decision on the termination, as they have not received any letter officially. He said they have requested the ministry and the thromde to wait until the end of this month.

He said the company has also submitted to the ministry and thromde in writing stating that the company assures to complete the works and commission the supply of water by the end of this month. The company claims that 90 percent of the works are completed and only electro mechanical works remain.

“We could not complete within the second deadline and LD period because it took more time to construct the chemical building and procuring the electro mechanical equipment,” Karma Kinley said.

Drinking water shortage

Meanwhile, the residents of upper (Toed) and middle (Maed) Samdrupjongkhar thromde are still fetching water from the nearest pond and well given the water shortage for the last three weeks.

Water connection was cut off as the main water diversion dam was washed away in the heavy rainfall from June 15-17 at Rikhechu. Although thromde officials reconnected the water pipes, it was blocked by the debris in the recent downpour. However, the water connection was restored yesterday.

Thromde’s water section head, Mani Kumar Rizal, said that although thromde officials and volunteers reconnected the pipeline to the reservoir in Pinchina, they have to keep replacing it as and when it gets washed away.

He said there is water problem but that it is not an acute one, adding that they also supply enough water through thromde’s two tankers. “We request the building owners to store water in the tank and supply to the tenants.”

Residents said it would be helpful if the thromde could install proper and permanent pipelines as some of the pipelines are old and placed on hilly sites.

They said that although the thromde administration supplies water through the tankers, the water supply system is not same to all residents. “Some tenants get direct water connection to their homes from the tankers while some have to fetch water from the tankers and carry homes.”

Thromde officials said they are planning to construct a gabion wall with a larger base and three metres height as an immediate measure. “We will also construct reinforced cement concrete (RCC) water tank after the monsoon.”

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar