Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu 

The construction progress of a 1,000 bedded quarantine center at Jigmeling in Sarpang was 67 percent as of April 15 raising concerns of missing the deadline for the third time.

The project was scheduled to complete by January 31, 2023. The deadline extended to April 24, and then to June 11 this year.

While the civil preparatory work (sub-structure work) has been completed, the civil work and pre-engineered building (super-structure work) are still ongoing.

The civil preparatory work of Nu 104.44 was awarded to six contractors. TT Construction constructed 15 blocks, T&K Construction 12 blocks, KN Construction seven blocks, YC Construction six blocks, Khuju Construction five blocks, and Jangkhurung Construction for water supply.

Nu 741.3 million for pre-engineered building work such as supply, installation, and finishing of 45 building blocks, which is now progressed at 67 percent, was awarded to Chimmi RD Construction in association with Modern Prefab.

The project was supposed to complete in January 2022

The civil work for road, stormwater drain, sewerage and compound lighting, and boundary fencing worth Nu 85.9 million was awarded to 8 Builders Construction and is now 33 percent complete.

Officials from the construction company said that it is not possible to complete the civil works of over Nu 740 million within eight months. “To complete work of Nu 92.5 million a month is not doable.”

He said that the project is confronted with issues and challenges such as floor rectification, plumbing line correction, and manual excavation of sewer lines.

“If it is a linear project like roads or pipelines, we can deliver within the scheduled time. Since it is a building work, it involves more items,” he said. “There are about 100 items in the finishing stage and it takes time.”

The civil work was awarded on October 15 and the pre-engineered building work was awarded on May 30, 2022.

The construction of 45 blocks on 22 acres of land includes 24  two-storey buildings for quarantine, three single-storey isolation wards, laboratories, a kitchen, and a single-storey building for visiting officials.

The quarantine blocks will be equipped with new technology featuring fireproof boards, tiles, AC in rooms, and a washroom with a geyser. Each block can accommodate 20 beds- five beds in every room.

The buildings also feature light gauge steel framed structures (LGSF) and insulation that keeps the room warmer depending on the weather both from inside and outside.

Officials from infrastructure and transport, and home ministries including the site engineer of the project said they were not in the position to provide information.

Home Secretary Sonam Wangyel, who is the chairman of the project steering committee, could not be contacted despite several attempts.

Meanwhile, there are about 170 labourers, both local and imported, at the construction site.