Gups from 14 gewogs have agreed once more to contribute a carpenter each month for the works

DT: After failing to contribute two-three carpenters as agreed earlier, the 14 gewogs of Wangduephodrang has decided to contribute a carpenter each a month for the Wangdue dzong reconstruction project.

Local leaders agreed to this after three hours of discussions during the first day of the 10th dzongkhag tshogdue on August 6.

Nyisho gewog’s gup Tshering said that although the gups of 15 gewogs had volunteered to send carpenters during a meeting with the project director, except for one, no other gewogs have been sending any.

According to project director Kinley Wangchuk’s report, in the last five months, each gewog was expected to provide carpenters for five to 10 months. Those gewogs that didn’t have carpenters agreed to send stone carvers while those without either agreed to send mud workers.

Kinley Wangchuk reported to the DT that Thedtsho gewog has been sending a stone craver and 10 workers for the last five months. Nyisho gewog sent three carpenters for five months but two carpenters were absent for two months. Phobjikha gewog, he reported, also sent three carpenters for four months but all three were absent during the fifth month.

Gewogs like Athang, Daga and Gasey tshoggoam have not sent any carpenters while Gasey Tshogwom, Kashi, Phangyul and Rubesa gewogs sent a carpenter each for a month. Bjena, Dangchu, Nyhi and Sephu gewogs contributed carpenters for two-four months.

Carpenters sent as volunteers are paid at par with those who are working at the site. The project pays between Nu 292 – Nu 370 to each carpenter.

Kinley Wangchuk said that besides the two stone carvers from Wangdue, only 47 workers at the reconstruction site are from Wangdue while the remaining 337 workers are from other dzongkhags.

He said it was the local leaders themselves who decided to contribute carpenters considering the importance of Wangdue dzong for the people of 15 gewogs. “If the gups didn’t volunteer to send carpenters, we would have looked for alternatives,” he said.

He said the project trusted the gups and believed that they would contribute skilled carpenters. However, that didn’t happen and in some cases, the gups sent female workers as substitutes for carpenters.

“The project has more than 80 carpenters and only about 11 of them are skilled,” he said. “We are in short of skilled carpenters.”

Local leaders agreed to their failure and said that despite several rounds of meeting with the people, the carpenters or stone carvers are either unwilling to go or do not keep their word after agreeing.

Gups said the lack of manpower in villages and the daily wage could be the reasons for skilled carpenters not willing to work at the site. Elsewhere, the carpenters were paid at least Nu 600 – Nu 700 a day.

Meanwhile, the Wangdue dzong reconstruction project, which started in February last year, is working to complete the construction of the Kuenray first.  “The Kuenray would be completed before Zhabdrung Kuchoe next year,” the project director said.

Wangdue’s Athang-Thedtsho parliament member and health minister Tandin Wangchuk and the National council representative Tashi Dorji attended the first session of the DT.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue