Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Residents of lower Samdrupjongkhar town will no longer have to worry about open drains.

This is because the contractor has resumed the work to repair and cover all open drains. The contractor had stopped working on them after the lockdown in Samdrupjongkhar town.

Residents in the area complained that open and incomplete drainage systems are risky and affect their business.

They said a person fell into the drain and sustained a head injury while trying to cross over the drain.

Shopkeepers had to lay planks over the drains so that customers could visit their shops.

Residents said that the open drains are risky for both pedestrians and vehicles.

A shopkeeper, Lhamo, said that although shopkeepers have laid planks over the drain in front of their shops, customers are still hesitant to cross over the drains because of the risk. “It has badly affected our business.”

She said it is also challenging for them to stay in the shops because of the foul smell from the drains, adding that there is also a threat to the buildings, as their bases have been dug into. “It would help if the contractor or the thromde could complete the drainage work as soon as possible.”

A resident, Khando, said the water canal, which was left incomplete and uncovered, is also a danger to pedestrians.

She said children might fall into the drain and canal if it is left open for a long time. “We are happy that the contractor has resumed the work and that they expect to complete it on time.”

The site manager, Kinzang Namgay, said they wouldn’t have dug holes if they had known the lockdown would happen. “We requested and applied to continue the work during the lockdown, but we were not given permission.”

He claimed a truckload of cement was damaged during the lockdown and labourers went back. “Since there is a danger that the structures will get damaged, we laid the concrete slabs on the buildings.”

He also said they could not resume the work after the lockdown as the original labourers had left, and labourers from low-risk places refused to come, due to the week-long mandatory quarantine.

“Work resumed this month because the firm brought about 10 labourers from India, bearing quarantine expenditures for 21 days.”

Meanwhile, the Nu 43.27 million work project includes widening roads, footpaths, and sewage systems in the town.