Reconstruction of the Mangdezam in Rendibi, Zhemgang, has finally resumed from December 2016.

Known as the Mangdezam, the bridge will help people of remote Langdurbi and Digala villages to cross over the Mangdechhu and Chamkharchhu. People are using a temporary suspension bridge for now. Some even used the incomplete bridge, risking their lives.

The Mangdezam construction, which began in 2011, was stalled after there was a disagreement on the construction rate between the Department of Roads (DoR) and the contractor, Santalal and Brothers Construction, which is based in Siliguri, India.

The work resumed after DoR officials and the contractor finally came to a consensus.

Project engineer, Bhim Bahadur Karki, said they completed concreting the trestle base and fabrication of all four trestles as of now. “We have even constructed a 7.5m high trestle on the right bank already,” he said.

Explaining the progress till now, he said the main towers measuring a height of 32m are being fabricated in Jaigaon, India, due to space constraints at the site. “It’s 50 percent complete by now and we will bring it to the site soon,” he said.

As of today, they are carrying out civil works for the anchorage of the main tower on either side. Labourers are seen carrying rods over the suspension bridge that stands right below the incomplete bridge.

Labourers are also busy transporting heavy materials from the right bank to the left bank deploying a boat that was hired from Assam, India,  along with an operator.

Officials said they have to finish transporting materials to the other bank before the monsoon.

Bhim Bahadur Karki said after the ongoing works are completed, they would start with the construction of the main tower. He said the bridge would be ready by June 2018.

Explaining the reasons of how the work got delayed, the project engineer said they encountered a crack on the foundation while digging on the left bank abutment. “After discussion with the DoR, the department took up the job of shifting the foundation by four metres upstream, which also required an additional nine-meter depth, which was completed and handed over to the contractor in March 2016.”

The engineer said they could not resume the work immediately after DoR handed over the work, as DoR could not agree on the revised cost they proposed taking inflation into account until December.

The Mangdezam will connect the Digala farm road that is underused today to the Gomphu-Panbang road. Rendibi is some five kilometres before reaching Pantang from Gongphu towards Panbang.

Nima Wangdi | Rendhibi