Labour shortage hits construction sector in Samtse

Rajesh Rai  | Samtse

Without enough skilled workers, many private constructions have come to a standstill and others have been severely hit.

Contractors and those building homes said that the shortage of skilled workers in the market has become the biggest problem.

Finding a skilled labourer such as carpenter, mason, or welder in Samtse has become increasingly difficult these days.

Sipsu Construction Private Ltd proprietor in Tashichholing, HK Ghalley said, “I was supposed to complete the construction of the building five months ago.”

Some builders are forced to exchange skilled labourers given the shortage.

Another contractor, Palden Dorji, said, “I give them what they don’t have and take from them what I don’t have. This is the only option.”

Palden Dorji said Bhutanese don’t come forward to work in the construction sector. “If there were any, they are expensive to hire.”

The proprietor of SKD construction, Singay Dorji said that domestic labourers could construct walls but didn’t have the expertise to build buildings.

“They’re not specialised and because they don’t have experience in building constructions it would take time for them to learn.”

“But if Bhutanese want to learn, this is the opportunity.”

SKD Construction has also registered with Build Bhutan Project and placed its demand for skilled labourers. However, Singay Dorji said that it would still be difficult to find skilled workers immediately.

Another problem is the rising transport costs.

Construction materials are brought from Phuentsholing, which adds to the cost.

It has also become difficult for many contractors in Tashichholing to transport construction materials from Samtse due to the limited carrying capacity of bridges over Buduney and Dina river.

HK Ghalley said that he had hired five bolero pickup trucks to transship and transport tiles from one truck.

Earlier, Tashichholing residents would import construction materials from Nagarkata, India.

Builders said that they have to stay longer in Phuentsholing to collect the materials and even after a week, some could not get the required quantity.

A tiles seller in the town, Sameer Pradhan said that despite the materials being locally available in Samtse people still went to Phuentsholing.

“It is available here and cheaper.”

Meanwhile, a team of 30 engineers and technicians from Samtse dzongkhag administration has taken up the work at the ongoing mini dry port. They are currently constructing watchtowers at the port.

The dzongkhag engineer, Kinzang Dorji said, “since there is  no budget this financial year, there is not much to do.”

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