Contractor barred from participating in future works in the dzongkhag for 2 years

Tshering Namgyal | Lhuentse

The tender committee of Lhuentse dzongkhag (DLTC) has recently terminated the contract work of a contractor who had been assigned to construct three bailey bridges in the dzongkhag after it failed to complete the construction on time although termination involves cost escalation for the government coffer. 

Dzongkhag officials said the DLTC was forced to terminate the works at all three sites awarded to M/s. Pema Jungney Construction Ltd. after the contractor did not only respond to repeated reminder letters dzongkhag issued in connection with the non-adherence to the contract terms but refused to continue and requested for termination at the time of final negotiation.

“The contractor was again asking to consider the current market rate for bridge parts, but the dzongkhag disagreed with the contractor’s request because the total quoted rate was already high. When dzongkhag did not consider, he requested for termination. So the dzongkhag had no option than to terminate the work,” Lhuentse Dzongrab and the Officiating Dzongdag, Wangchen Norbu, said.

 The dzongkhag has also referred the case to the Debarment Committee under the Ministry of Finance to debar the contractor from participating in any work in the dzongkhag for two consecutive years for willfully failing to perform the contract.

However, the termination is going to cost the government as the major portions of work that was quoted high was completed. 

Of the total quoted amount of Nu 28.1 million for three bridges, the contractor had abnormally charged high rate of about 20 million for site development works that includes building wing wall, abutment and river training, and quoted only Nu 8.1 million for bridge launching part that include procurement of bridge parts, transportation and launching. 

It’s learned that the procurement of bridge parts for three bridges from India alone is expected to cost more than 16 million. 

“We knew that the rate for the bridge parts and launching were unreasonably low at the time of rate analysis and questioned the contractor who convinced us that he would makeover from the highly quoted rates from site development works. Since the total quoted amount was only about 8.23 percent less, against the estimated amount of Nu 30.6 million we awarded the work,” district engineer, Kezang Lhendup, said.

“But the contractor omitted the bridge part after completing the site development work besides issuing 11 reminder letters.”

The work to construct three bailey bridges over Ungarchhu in Maedtsho gewog, Shawachhu in Gangzur gewog and Phawanchhu in Tsaenkhar gewog was awarded in May 2020 for the period of 15 months and was rescheduled three times until March 2022.

The issue was also reported to the Prime Minister, Dr Dr Lotay Tshering during his recent visit in the dzongkhag in August this year. 

After a thorough review, Lyonchen told the dzongkhag tender committee to give the contractor a final chance to continue with the work to accomplish it. 

Kuensel could not contact the  contractor as he was on a trip abroad. 

Delayed construction work has impacted the communities. The chairperson of a vegetable farmers’ group in Tsaenkhar gewog, Pema Loday from Phawantoed village, said the group lost a huge amount of vegetables last month after the road was washed away and the failed new bridge construction has been abandoned. 

Farmers of Tsaenkhar village also wrote to the dzongkhag requesting the bridge to be completed at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the dzongkhag has requested the department of road to procure the bridge parts for 170-feet long bridge of Shawachhu and 90-feet bridge of Fawanchhu to be launched soon.

However, dzongkhag has asked the Druk Green Power Corporation, which is undergoing Yungi hydropower project in the area to complete the bridge construction work.