Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

The 36kms Lauri gewog centre (GC) road blacktopping was awarded in three packages a year ago.

The Nu 110 million (M) budget blacktopping work was supposed to complete by December last year.

However, only the granular sub-base is laid as of now and construction of drain is ongoing.

The road would benefit more than 500 households in the gewog and some villages of Serthi gewog.

Lauri gewog residents said they are hoping the GC road blacktopping will complete soon even if delayed.

They said they understand the contractors could not complete the blacktopping works on time because of the lockdowns, but it would benefit them if the work is carried out as planned.

A resident, Dema, said the blacktopping work would have completed on time if the contractors started it on time. “They took time to mobilise resources.”

She said the contractors should speed up the work. “There is not much progress and dust affects the crops in winter and the road becomes slippery in summer.”

Another resident, Tenzin, said the GSB is getting damaged and it would be difficult to travel along the road as rainy season has started .

“Since the project has a huge budget, it would help if the authorities concerned such as the gewog administration could monitor and make the contractors complete the work on time,” he said.

Lauri gup, Jigme Tshewang, said the work was delayed as the second phase contractor was suspended and they had to retender the work. “Lockdowns also affected the work.”

He said the crusher machine also got damaged and the work was delayed for a few months. “The machine is functional and doing well now.”

He said they are also monitoring the work progress.

Indanila construction’s proprietor, Tshewang Rinzin, said he could not go to the site and start the work due to the lockdown. “It took about two months to fix the crusher and sent it to Guwahati in India as we didn’t get the spare parts in Bhutan.”

He said the frequent power cuts also affects the work because they cannot run the crusher.  “Although the materials are ready, we cannot complete the work on time and start the blacktopping work in winter as the rain would affect the quality of the work. We will ask for the time extension.”

Meanwhile, the contractors were given time extension until June this year.