Police disperse stranded truckers

Law & Order: Trongsa police dispersed over 20 truckers who had again blocked the approach road to the Mangdechu hydropower project dam site after Jaiprakash associates (Jaypee) refused to unload anymore trucks.

Only three trucks were unloaded yesterday.

The police dismissed the truckers with a stern warning that such acts were against the law. The police also warned that blocking roads would only implicate the drivers in an unlawful act of protest.

The police arrived by afternoon after truckers once again blocked the road to the dam site at Dzongkhalum, impeding traffic from both sides. The road was blocked for a second time in three days after Jaypee failed to unload trucks laden with cement.

“They just unloaded three trucks till the lunch break,” a trucker stranded in Dzongkhalum from July 13, Karchung, said.

The truckers blocked the road yesterday after Jaypeere refused to budge despite repeated pleas to unload more trucks. Although Jaypee unloaded over 15 trucks on July 16, the truckers felt the company did not unload enough trucks, yesterday.

“They unloaded vigorously on July 16 after the issue was raised in media but now it’s back to square one,” another trucker, Sangay Tenzin said, adding nobody from Jaypee is bothering to inform them how much longer they would have to wait.

There are over 50 trucks stranded in Dzongkhalum since July 11 after concrete works in the dam pit was suspended following a landslide on the abutment. Following the suspension of works, Jaypee’s cement storage has been packed full.

As of yesterday evening, at least 23 trucks were unloaded, including 15 unloaded on July 16.

The remaining trucks, numbering around 20, have been stranded for between four-five days.

“If Jaypee unloads just three-four trucks in a day, we could be stranded for more than four to five days again,” Karchung said, adding that if Jaypee had unloaded the cement, the trucks would have been able to make two trips to the project with cement.

The truckers said they want the cement to be unloaded as fast as possible as it is exposed to the elements and could get damaged.

“If any bag of cement gets damaged while on the truck, we have to bear Nu 800 for every bag since Jaypee will reject it all,” another trucker, Sonam said.

Jaypee officials however assured that it is doing its best to create space by using cement wherever possible.

“Whatever best we can, it is being done with good intention. Nobody should be distressed because of the company,” an official from Jaypee said.

Two trucks were also deployed to the powerhouse and unloaded towards the evening. The supply from Dungsam cement corporation has also been suspended.

By Tempa Wangdi, Trongsa

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