Tshewang Choden

Pointing out numerous loopholes in the community contract system, contractors said the government should review the system and award some of the works to licensed contractors.

This was pointed out in a meeting Construction Association of Bhutan (CAB) organised for the contractors on November 18.

Community contractors, comprising of a group from the community, are given construction works worth Nu 1.5 million (M) within the gewogs.

Contractors alleged that of the group, only one carry out the actual construction and the rest do not take part. They claimed that going by the practice, it is as good as awarding the works to a licensed contractor.

“Even when all members of the group work, some of them do not have any experience or skill in doing such contracts and compromise the construction quality,” a contractor said.

Meanwhile, some of the contractors shared that there are also cases of licensed contractors taking up the community contract in the name of villagers residing in the community.

“Someone else does the job and at the end another person’s name is given. There are cases when people don’t even know who did the job,” a contractor said.

This, according to the contractors, is due to the lack of effective monitoring of the works.

Most contractors, however, agreed that awarding contracts like renovation of lhakhang and community school in the community promotes ownership.

“Can’t the community contracts be given to the communities only if they can contribute?” a contractor asked. “If the community was able to contribute in the form of labour or fund then there is no problem even if the contract is given to the community.”

He pointed out that problems arise when awarding contracts that require the use of machinery to the community. “For instance, construction of farm road requires machines like excavator, which the villagers won’t have. This creates problem for the community.”

The reduction of community contract ceiling amount was one of the alternatives debated amongst the contractors.

The vice president of the Construction Association of Bhutan, Tshering Yoenten said that the issue would be raised during the next AM with PM.