Labour shortage impedes dzong construction

Construction: With the large volume of work at the Pemagatshel Dzong construction in Denchi, the project officials said there is a need for labour contributions, especially in the field of masonry from the eight gewogs.

The project officials has requested gewogs to send skilled masons from the villages and the gups have agreed to send as decided during one of the dzongkhag tshogdus (DT).

But, so far, only 28 masons and carpenters from three gewogs, Khar, Shumar and Chongshing have turned up.

The matter was again discussed during the recent 10th DT and was decided that each gewogs will have to send labour contribution on turns.

During the DT, the gups expressed that it was difficult to find skilled masons in the village and that they are willing to contribute other labour works.

The gups said that those who are skilled are usually old and they are not in the village and those in the village are engaged in farm works. A few gups said that even after informing many did not turn up.

But as per the 10th DT resolution, nobody from any gewogs has turned up so far, said project manager Lhaten Dorji.

He said they are still waiting for villagers although Chimong and Yurung gups have informed that as soon as their gewog connectivity road resumes, they would be sending labourers from each household.

“Since there are huge works involved at the construction site, there is a need for more masonry,” he said. “At present, we have about 30 masons including a few non-Bhutanese. But we need at least about a 100 masons at the site.”

He said they would welcome labour contributions like carrying stones and helping masons and carpenters, who will be paid as per the wage rate. The skilled masons are paid as per the wage rate based on different categories ranging from Nu 270 to Nu 360 a day.

Lhaten Dorji added the project that began from 2012 is aimed to be completed by November 2018. “We are yet to erect frame structures, beams and blocks and when these blocks are completed, we have to construct a wall. That is when we need large number of masons and we’re trying every possible way to increase the number of masons.”

Lhaten Dorji said they have been looking for masons from other dzongkhags but most of the masons refuse to come because of the remoteness of place.

“We’re hoping that with 11 gewogs in Pemagatshel, masons will be available and that they would come forward,” he added. “Even if they come for 10 days, it would really benefit the project.”

However, Lhaten Dorji assured that because of lack of masons, the over all work on the project is definitely not affected and is going smooth as of now, where 37 percent of the work is already completed.

The government of India funds the Nu 530 million for the project. A total of Nu 191.818 million has been spent till date.

Yangchen C Rinzin, Pemagatshel 

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