Shingkhar is the last gewog in Zhemgang to be left without power

REW: Two years after its deadline, rural electrification works in Shingkhar, Zhemgang are not yet complete, leaving some 350 homes waiting for power supply.

The yearlong contract was awarded in October 2011, and all works were to complete by November 11, 2012.

Shingkhar, which is about 128km from Dagphel, is the only gewog awaiting electrification in Zhemgang after the neighbouring gewog Bardho was electrified in 2014.

According to local leaders, electrification work, which had resumed after a month-long halt, has again come to a halt.

Nima Construction is carrying out the electrification work, but lack of materials and labourers often stall progress.

Shingkhar gup Needup said, save for Nimzhong, which is around 88km from Dagphel, electrification work for other chiwogs like Thrisa, Wamling, Radhi and Shingkhar are still incomplete.  Shingkhar tshogpa, Damchay Temba, said that, in Moyumbi, even the poles haven’t reached the village.

Electrification work in Wamling has also come to a halt and, according to Wamling tshogpa, Thinlay Phunstho, poles are yet to be erected for five of the 80 households.

He also said that none of the poles are standing firmly. “Recently, strong winds brought down the cables in Wamling,” he said.

The gup also attributed Nima Construction’s inability to pay villagers, who earlier carried electrification materials like poles.  Needup said that the construction company owes over Nu 0.4M (million) to the villagers.

“Following the contractor’s refusal to pay the villagers, the latter also refused to carry the materials, and the company had to look elsewhere for labourers,” Needup said.

While Nima Construction could not be contacted for comments, the distribution construction division (DCD) in Gelephu manager, Tshenga Dorji, attributed the delay to the absence of a road.

“Without a road, it took the contractor a lot of time to transport the low and high tension poles to Shingkhar,” Tshenga Dorji said.

He said materials, including high and low tension poles, had to be carried manually from Buli to Shingkhar for days, and labour shortage compounded the problem.

The manager, however, said that work had now resumed, and about 82 percent of electrification work had been completed.

“Save for installation of 18 transformers and laying of some two kilometres of conductors (cable), the remaining electrification works are completed,” Tshenga Dorji said.

DCD is trying to transport the last lap of materials to Shingkhar by this month. “We’re expecting to complete the work before the onset of monson,” he said.

By Tempa Wangdi, Zhemgang