Nima | Gelephu

With about a month for the torrential monsoon rains to begin in Gelephu workers at the confluence of Mauchhu and Shetikhari stream in Gelephu are racing against time.

They hurry to complete the 150-metre long reinforced concrete (RCC) wall before the onset of monsoon. They are confident for accomplishing the task in time mainly because the lockdowns are over.

The half-completed RCC wall connects another 300-metre long wall downstream on the Mauchhu basin.

In the past two years, Mauchhu changed its course twice and started flowing towards Gelephu town, causing the greatest loss to the lives, properties, residents, and paddy fields in 2020 and 2021.

A flash flood triggered by heavy rainfall stranded 20 people last year.

The confluence of Shetikhari stream and Mauchhu is almost sealed now. Gelephu thromde invested Nu 10 million to complete the construction of 150m wall at the critical point in the next two months.

Gelephu Thrompon Tshering Norbu said the thromde was better prepared this monsoon season. “The water treatment plant and other structures near Mauchhu are more secured. We will be able to complete the construction of the wall before monsoon,” he said.

Adding that the thromde planned for boulder pitching to protect the RCC walls from direct river thrust and to avoid collapsing.

“We have proposed budget for 2022 and 2023 fiscal year. We will prioritize storm drain in critical locations. RCC wall construction is ongoing at Mauchhu,” said the Thrompon.

Sarpang dzongkhag and the department of disaster management helped the thromde build a 300m RCC wall that cost Nu 25 million in 2021.

The thromde also plans to improvise the water channelised for fishery centre and villages downstream. The new outlet system would ensure sufficient water for irrigation and the fishery centre.

Residents said the water diversion breached walls and triggered floods in the past.

The RCC wall is expected to secure thromde’s water treatment plant, football academy, and acres of paddy field that was washed away every monsoon in the lower part of Gelephu.

Flashflood destroyed the water treatment plant at Mauchhu in the past and left more than 12,000 residents without safe drinking water for more than a week in summer 2020 and 2021.

The filtration process of the treatment plant gets disturbed during the flood.

However, thromde officials say the treatment plant is more secure this time with better mitigation structures at Mauchhu basin.

The thromde and the dzongkhag invested over Nu 30 million in the past two years to build the RCC wall. The dzongkhag and Gelephu gewog also invested huge sums to secure residents, properties, and lives during summer.

Other relevant agencies come together to step up mitigation measures during monsoon season.