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Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

Of 411 Bhutanese workers recruited through the Punatsangchhu-II hydroelectric project (PII), 55 have left site citing family, work environment and adaptability issues as reasons.

Bhutanese were recruited in eight small batches since recruitment began in October this year.

The project is still short of workers and process to recruit more workers continues.

PHPAIIb

Around 88.56 percent of the project is complete

PHPA II Managing Director Amresh Kumar said that to keep project on track the works at non-critical fronts had been stopped and manpower has been diverted to critical fronts. “Manpower strength needs to be increased. Project optimally requires about 2,400 workers engaged directly at the work fronts called the direct workers. As of now we have only about 1,292 direct worker.”

Almost all the new Bhutanese recruits are today working with Jaiprakash Associates Limited (Jaypee Group).

While many have performed well on site, issues of a few youth unwilling to work longer shifts arose recently.

Jaypee Group Project Manager KK Sood said that some youth had left work site, as they did not want to work long hours. Reportedly, when the supervisor asked them to resume work, fight broke out.

KK Sood said that the company and the PHPA II management would jointly discuss on the way forward.

Despite the issues, Jaypee Group has today asked for additional 100 Bhutanese workers.

“We want more to join us now. Initially, we thought it would be liability to us but they are working well,” KK Sood said.

The company has today also provided women workers with a new kitchen.

“They were telling us that they would make their own arrangement. So we have told them that in that case we would provide them a cook too,” KK Sood said.

PHPA II is today also in process of recruiting Indian workers, especially skilled workers for hydro mechanical and electro mechanical works.

As of early November, 133 Indian workers were inducted.

MD Amresh Kumar said that the announcement of various welfare measures by the Indian government to boost the local employment opportunities in India and 21 days quarantine requirement to enter Bhutan was affecting the induction of Indian workers.

With over Nu 68.972 billion (B) spent, around 88.56 percent of the project is complete. Dam progress is 88.77 percent; 99.08 percent of the headrace tunnel (HRT); 78.01 percent of the powerhouse complex; and 79.12 percent of the electro mechanical works have completed.

The project is expected to be commissioned in July 2022.

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