Male Iron Rat Year
For the human settlement ministry (MoWHS) the Rat Year began with a conference for 10th engineers, architects and planners in Panbang, Zhemgang that adopted 11 resolutions.
One of the resolutions adopted was on the often-discussed issue of lack of safety measures in construction sites.
It was learnt that the occupational health and safety measures were often not implemented in construction projects.
Water flagship programme
The ministry laid the groundwork for the Water Flagship Programme (WFP) that will be implemented this year. The programme is expected to ensure the availability of adequate water for drinking and irrigation.
The human settlement ministry presented the progress status of the WFP to the Prime Minister in January last year. Strategies include declaration and protection of critical watersheds and wetlands, development of adequate and climate-resilient infrastructure for thromdes and dzongkhags (municipalities and rural areas), improvement of drinking water quality surveillance, and the better implementation of water legislation and governance.
The flagship programme has identified 11 dzongkhags and the four thromdes based on the dire need of water supply and about Nu 3 billion (B) has been set aside for the first phase of the programme.
In the year, Project DANTAK handed over the national highway between Kheri in Trashigang and Yadi, Mongar after completing the widening works to the Department of Roads in Trashigang.
The 20km Yongkola-Dorjiling bypass started in July last year, which will shorten the distance by 32kms.
The Shingkar-Gorgan road resurfaced in the Parliament last year. MoWHS Minister pointed out that unless the Parliament amends the Forest and Nature Conservation Act 1995 the Shingkar-Gorgan won’t materialise. Experts concluded that construction of the road was environmentally not feasible.
There were also delays in the construction of roads. Residents of 75 households in Naro gewog, Thimphu, are yet to benefit from the gewog centre (GC) road, although the construction began in 2010. Last year, about 27.3kms of the formation cutting was completed and works on the remaining 1.7kms was expected to be completed by January this year. In these last 10 years, road construction management changed three times.
Engineering council and construction manager software
The Rat Year saw the establishment of engineering council to ensure professional development in the engineering field. Engineers, urban planners, and architects in the country began registering with the council by November.
The council will certify and ensure the competence of these professionals through registration, regulate their conduct and maintain continuous assessment for their professional development.
The aim is to set and maintain the recognised standards for professional competence and ethics that will provide a benchmark, govern the award and retention of titles.
The year also saw the launch of the upgraded Construction Manager Software (CMS). CMS would benefit the engineers of government, corporate and private sectors in terms of project planning, contract administration and project monitoring.