The restructure is expected to allow for more specializations and creativity among engineers

Engineers: The works and human settlement ministry’s engineering service department will soon propose to the Royal Civil Service Commission, a major restructuring of the sector.

The department will put up the proposal following endorsement at the two-day dzongkhag engineering coordination meeting that ended yesterday in Gelephu.

According to the proposal, a whole new unit, Planning and Design, will be established besides an existing construction cell. Three sections will function under the unit, building engineering, road and bridge, and water, irrigation and sanitation.

For the three sections to function it is estimated that at least 35 additional personnel is required for the 20 dzongkhags. In the building engineering section, an architect, structural engineer and electrical engineer each will be placed.  A civil engineer each will be deployed for the other two sections.

Currently all 20 dzongkhags together have 53 civil or structural engineers, eight electrical engineers and four architects.  With the establishment of the new cell, another seven civil or structural engineers, 12 electrical and 16 architects are required.

Engineering service department director, Tenzin, said that while the need for civil and electrical engineers is urgent, deployment of architects could be done with time. “As soon as endorsement here, we’ll put the proposal to RCSC for institutionalization,” he said. “Within the current five year Plan we’ll have a changed dzongkhag engineering sector.”

Explaining the need for a re-organization, the director said with democratization, decentralization and devolution, it is inevitable. The decentralization will enable local government officials to become responsible for implementation of social and economic development activities and develop human resource development plans. It will also let the sector work towards having a full set of engineers, planners, designers for all major works.

Equipping the dzongkhag engineering sector with adequate manpower is necessary for the establishment of 16 new thromdes and yenlag thromdes.

The second reason for the reorganization is professionalization and specialization for professional growth and competence. it is important to promote engineers specialized in one specific field, Tenzin said. The current system, he added, produces only general engineers.

“In the long run, we need to have different sets of professionals who are highly knowledgeable and competent in one specific field,” he said.

It is also time that the dzongkhag engineering sector became professionally independent from the respective department and ministries. Being professionally independent will enable them to have capacity to design major engineering works. “Time to move away from standardized drawings for buildings, roads, bridges, irrigation, water supply, sewerage treatment,” the director said. “These standardized drawing is killing the creativity of our engineers.”

Besides creation of employment opportunities, the reorganization is expected to create a pool of engineers in the national market, who will be experts in different engineering fields.

“A well functioning, independent and competent dzongkhag engineering sector is critical for the successful delivery of the planned programmes at the grass roots,” Tenzin added.

The restructuring is expected to change the responsibilities of dzongkhag engineers from mere construction supervisors to a professional engineering body.

Nirmala Pokhrel, Gelephu