Construction: The government would retender the terminated works of the two contract packages on the Dalbari-Dagapela secondary national highway soon.

Works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden informed the National Assembly on the status of the project on November 17 during the question hour.

South Thimphu MP Yeshey Zimba asked the minister whether the government had awarded the works to Gaseb Construction Company and its Indian partner without retendering the works.

“All paper works and decisions on compensation have been complete,” Lyonpo said.

The cabinet decided to terminate the works in December last year after the Anti-Corruption Commission wrote to the Cabinet to redo the tendering, according to the minister.

The commission investigated after the lowest bidder, who was disqualified for failing to meet the requirements, complained to the ministry and later to the commission.

Following the termination of the works, a committee was formed to work on the compensation to the three contractors who were awarded the works.

The ministry’s engineers along with representatives of the contractors began physical verification of the work done on the sites in January this year.

By the time the Cabinet took the decision, construction works had begun and progress was ‘ahead of schedule,’ roads officials said in an earlier interview.

Tundi Construction private company from Nepal had completed 5km of the 20km package B worth Nu 378M (million) between Odalthang and Gesarling.

An Indian company, SPML, and Gaseb Construction Company joint venture had already finished a 9km rough widening of the existing 21.22km road.  It was awarded a 31.58km long section C worth more than Nu 358M of the road, including the 21.22km road from Dagapela to Geserling.

“It was not an easy task to negotiate the compensation, we had to involve experts from finance ministry, Office of the Attorney General and the Construction Development Corporation, among others,” lyonpo said.

“Determining the compensation for the work done was easy, while it took a long time and much effort to finalise on the more complex issue of equipment hire, camps, and companies’ other investments,” she said.

While the works were stopped for the past 10 months, the minister said that the government is concerned and is doing its best to restart works at the earliest. Drujeygang Tseza Member of Parliament, Karma Dorji conveyed the concerns from his constituency.

“The road would benefit them a lot but people are now concerned and requests the government to begin constructions as soon as possible,” he said.

The highway passes through five gewogs of Tshendagang, Goshi, Dorona, Gesarling and Deorali and its construction began on September 29 last year.  Some 30 contractors competed for the works and works on all three packages began simultaneously.

The Netherlands government under its ORIO project and the government are funding the construction, which is estimated to cost Nu 1.5 billion.

Tshering Palden