Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

Punatsangchhu-II hydroelectric project (PII) recruited additional 27 workers to its various construction sites yesterday.

This is the second batch the project has recruited in groups. They were deployed with  Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (Jaypee Group) one of the contractors at the project. Jaypee is building the PII dam and powerhouse.

Bhutanese workers were recruited in mass after the project lost more than 1,300 foreign workers. As of September, 1,351 left for home in India and another 300 had shown their interest to leave.

Although the PII management called 57 individuals to report at Bajo yesterday, only 31 turned up. Of 31, four decided to leave after the briefing and site visit.

According to PII Joint Managing Director (JMD) Thinley Dorji, three of the four had jobs.

One cited inconvenience with family as a reason for not working at PII. “The three individuals are already working and they wanted to see PII site. They said they would decide after they finish their work at the current site.”

In the first batch, around 220 individuals including more than 60 female came for work. However, following the site visit and briefing, only 162 stayed to work.

Many were reluctant to work after seeing the site, but the workers who took the jobs don’t want to leave, officials said. Those already at the site have further expressed their interest to continue their work.

“It does involve working underground and at height. They do feel different I think,” JMD Thinley Dorji said.

Today, project management is also collecting feedback from those who didn’t return and those who chose to leave after the site visit.

Many, who didn’t turn up for the work weren’t available on phone. Those who responded told that they were simply not interested to work.

Despite the poor turnout, there are more than 2,600 individuals registered with the management. Registration of interested workers stopped on October 13.

PII will today recruit around 800 individuals in small batches. More than 50 individuals will be brought to PII for a site visit tomorrow. This is to avoid overcrowding.

On a three-day visit, economic affairs minister Loknath Sharma also interacted with the first batch of recruits, project contractor and the PII management. The visit ended on October 17.