Ensuring quality works

The Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay communicated a strong message to the 23 contractors who are widening the East-West highway: that he will personally monitor their progress and quality of work. Any poor quality would result in repercussions such as loss of future government contracts.
With an engineering background, it should be difficult for any corners to be cut, especially if lyonchoen is conducting the tests himself, during his frequent travels. Broadening the lateral highway is not only a government priority, it is important for the nation. It is the lifeline of central and eastern Bhutan.
The planned East-West highway along the international border, an alternative to the roadblock prone lateral highway is not going to come through soon. Therefore, it is only appropriate that we have a comfortable and reliable road from Thimphu to Trashigang.
Lyonchoen’s message to the contractors should not be taken as a warning or an ultimatum. It is an expression of the importance of the lateral highway for the country. For the last many decades, Bhutanese have been building roads. With the development of the private sector, more Bhutanese are taking part in building roads in the country. However, poor quality has always been an issue.
From Thimphu to the farm roads in rural Bhutan, quality of works have not lived up to the expectations of the people. It does not matter if it is an urban or a farm road, potholes pock mark our roads, sometimes, just a few months, or even days after it has been constructed.
The most common complaint from road users is the poor quality of roads everywhere, whether it is the thickness of the blacktopping or the cutting.
The private sector is profit oriented but that does not mean that scarce natural resources are wasted for ensuring the sector to survive and grow. Poor quality work will have broader implications on the national economy.
A start has been made with the Prime Minister promising to reward contractors who ensure quality work and punish those who compromise quality for profit. It is a bold decision and should set a good example. There is no rocket science needed in monitoring quality of works, especially building roads. The problem is we didn’t act, even after seeing new roads disintegrate mere days after completion.
After decades of building infrastructure in the country, we are complaining of the same quality problems. An elected government will be remembered if it can correct flaws in the system. A government will be remembered if it brings to heel, the contractors that have for far too long, exploited the system and given us substandard work.

1 reply
  1. MIGNIEN
    MIGNIEN says:

    To underline the P.M. declarations to the contractors of road , i give my opinion about bad maitenance of road I see at every time i come in Bhutan :
    Every year , a huge budget is allocated to maintain roods in good repair; i can denouce the bad technic used to widen roads . I know , as P.M. say , that contractors have a goal different than maintenance roads in good repair : money first and maintanance with few expends .
    But before widening road , one must appeal the studies of a geological engineer to check the edges of the road in repair ; This could avoid most of the landslides and boulder falls . Works of draining stones and instable earth plus couloir to evacuate water monsoon must be undertaken before all works of widening.
    It needs to build pipes of diversion and ditches , according the incline . And AFTER THOSE PREPARING WORKS , bedrock of the road with stones and gravel can be built ; and after pass a road roller , tarring can be undertaken .
    Those works are not often undertaken , or done only in big town . And more the bad maintenance of the ditches , often always plenty of refuses which obstruct drrainage system of the water in the middle of the road . That cause stagnation of the water in the middle of the roads. This create pothole which are sometimes wallows .
    SUGGESTION : in a long future , to avoid problems of road saturation , it will be necessarily to build a cog raiway network . For further information , check wikipedia encyclopedia online with the thema “COG RAILWAYS” . There are pictures and photos .
    jcmignien@orange.fr

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