The Natural Resource Development Corporation Ltd (NRDCL) is dredging two rivers and three streams in Sarpang.

The dzongkhag tshogdu, in one of its sittings, decided to allow the corporation to dredge the riverbeds to avoid seasonal stream water and swelling rivers flooding villages and damaging infrastructures. Officials say work started since last year.

NRDCL’s general manager for mineral resources division, Deo Kumar Biswa, said while the main work is in Maokhola, where they would be dredging 3.5kms of the river, works are on-going at Sarpang Khola, Paitha Khola, Bhur Khola and Shetikharey stream.

In Maokhola, of the 3.5kms, the contractor would be dredging only 1kms of the river. NRDCL would be executing the remaining 2.5kms work departmentally.

Deo Kumar said NRDCL is taking care of flood mitigation works in all required areas to save infrastructure. “The expenses are borne by NRDCL through some arrangements with the contractors.”

He said the corporation would work out a separate modality for works to be executed department wise. It was learnt that the contractor executing the dredging work for a kilometre export the extracted materials to Bangladesh and India.

In Sarpang Khola, NRDCL awarded 1km-dredging works to a contractor and the dzongkhag administration awarded another 1km to the same contractor. “Works are progressing well as of now,” the general manager said.

In Paitha Khola and Bhur Khola, contractors dredge about 2kms of the riverbed and take the extracted materials to the crushing machines deployed near the rivers.

According to the general manager, NRDCL is executing several mitigation works and flood control measures in Shetikharey.

He said the corporation also carry out activities in the area as corporate social responsibility (CSR). He cited mitigation works in Maokhola to prevent paddy fields in Chuzergang from being washed away.

NRDCL according to him spent about Nu 10M as CSR.

Gelephu and Sarpang residents say the dredging works would avoid flooding in summer.

Residents dread the swollen rivers and seasonal streams every summer, as it not only block the road but also wash away several bridges and road’s formation width and paddy fields.

A Gelephu resident, Ugyen, said when the sand in the rivers and streams are dredged, it would lower the streambed. “There are also walls constructed and these are expected to prevent flooding.”

Tashi Dema | Gelephu