Dechen Dolkar | Phuentsholing

The ambitious Phuentsholing Township Development Project (PTDP) has reached a significant milestone, with approximately 53 percent of the physical progress already completed.

This major undertaking, estimated to cost USD 93 million, aims to transform the urban landscape of Phuentsholing.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has played a crucial role in supporting the project, providing loans totalling USD 47.24 million and grants amounting to USD 34.26 million. The remaining equity injection of USD 11.5 million comes from the Druk Holding and Investments (DHI). These financial commitments demonstrate the importance and expectations placed on the development of the project.

According to Kamal Dhakal, the project director of Construction Development Corporation Limited (CDCL), the project has incurred expenses of around USD 50.5 million thus far. Notably, the first package of civil works, which encompassed the construction of river training and embankment works, was successfully completed in November of last year. The initial contract, valued at Nu 2.93 billion, was awarded to AFCONS Infrastructure Limited.

Currently, the project is in its defect liability period, where the contractor assumes responsibility for any necessary maintenance.

The second package, which entails the construction of common urban infrastructures, was awarded to Kalika-Rigsar JV, a joint venture between a Nepal-based construction company and Rigsar Construction Private Ltd. Valued at Nu 1.74 billion, this package includes the development of 7km of street networks and walkways, a 3 million litres per day (3MLD) water treatment plant, sewage collection and conveyance systems, a 3MLD sewage treatment plant, a 15-tonne per day solid waste treatment facility, as well as electrical and telecommunication networks.

Although construction on the second package began in November of last year, only 6 percent of the work has been completed thus far. The project director is optimistic about the PTDP’s potential, emphasising its role in protecting the new Phuentsholing township and the city itself from floods and riverbank erosion. Additionally, the project aims to provide essential urban infrastructures for the expansion of human settlements and commercial activities within a safe and sustainable environment.

Furthermore, there are several remaining packages that encompass the greening and landscaping of the PTDP Zone-A area, including the development of parks, plantation works, and urban greens. These aspects are crucial for creating an aesthetically pleasing environment for residents and visitors alike. The project duration for these remaining packages is estimated to be around 18 months, starting from January 2024, although the contract is yet to be awarded.

The PTDP primarily utilises locally-sourced raw materials, with imports only being necessary for materials not available within Bhutan. As the implementing agency overseeing the development and construction, CDCL ensures that stringent quality standards are upheld throughout the project.

The PTDP has also contributed to local employment, with approximately 107 workers involved in the project. A noteworthy aspect is that 99 percent of the workforce comprises Bhutanese nationals, demonstrating the project’s commitment to fostering domestic employment opportunities.

With construction anticipated to be completed by May 2025, the Phuentsholing Township Development Project holds the promise of transforming the urban landscape of Phuentsholing and driving sustainable growth in the region.