About 47 percent of the work has been completed since the project began in 2012

Dzong construction continues to face mason shortage

Storage: Construction of Pemagatshel Dzong in Denchi continues to face shortage of skilled masons, which the officials say, could delay completion deadline.

Shortage of required workers, however, has not affected the overall project. Almost 47 percent of the work has been completed since the construction began in 2012.

Project officials say that about 80 more masons are required. Currently, there are about 30 Bhutanese masons working with the project.

Project officials raised the issue of shortage of masons in the recent Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) and requested the dzongkhag and the gewogs to help solve the shortage.

The former gups had agreed to send masons from the villages. However, only three gewogs managed to do so.

It was decided in the tshogdu that each gewog would send five masons each. So far, however, none of the gewogs have sent masons to the project.

Project manager Lhaten Dorji said that the beams and pillars of the dzong will use RCC frames, which will require huge walls.

“Even if we complete the frame works, if there are no walls the structure won’t even look like a building,” he said. “If we work together, we will be able to complete all the project on time. Otherwise, stonework would be time consuming and affect the deadline.”

The dzong is expected to be completed by 2018.

Lhaten Dorji added that now that the project has the revised utse drawing, foundation work has begun, requiring more masons to construct the walls.

“We advertised our requirement, but no one has turned up yet. If the situation doesn’t improve, we might have to go for non-Bhutanese masons. We might also have to ask the rest gewogs to send the masons because it would be unfair for the gewogs that have already contributed labour.”

Lhaten Dorji said that besides people’s unwillingness to leave their farm work behind, one of the reasons why there is shortage of masons could be because villagers prefer to work for other contractors who pay them more than the project does.

“The project would benefit even if masons come to work for just a few days,” said Lhaten Dorji.

The Nu 530-million project is funded by Government of India. A total of Nu 251.276 million has been utilised so far.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Samdrupjongkhar

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