River protection works in Bumthang to start soon

Infrastructure: Residents within the flood hazardous area in Bumthang can expect some security beginning this monsoon.

The dzongkhag administration will construct protection walls along the river starting above Chakhar Lhakhang till Gangrithang. Evaluation of tender documents began on January 26.

Municipal engineer, Pema Lethro said the river protection wall will be constructed under three different work packages namely Chakhar, Wangdicholing, and Gangtihang and Chamkhar. “The gabion walls will be constructed in the areas where there is danger of flooding,” he said.

He added that the river course was diverted towards Chakhar Lhakhang when the river protection wall was constructed for the airport on the other side. This posed a threat to the lhakhang.

“We’re going to construct the wall from way above the Chakhar Lhakhang area,” he said. The wall will also cover the spot where a landslide occurred last winter, which lies some 100m from the lhakhang.

“This will provide good protection for the low land around this area.”

He said the river protection walls will be built in parts at places identified to be risky during the monsoon.

“The dzongkhag had already built some river protection walls in the past but there were still some risky areas left uncovered,” Pema Lethro said. Some old gabion walls were also damaged during the monsoon.

Some 580m of walls will be constructed at the Chakhar area, 226m will be constructed at the Wangdicholing area that starts from bellow the BNB office in Dekiling till the Chamkhar bridge.

Another 660m of walls will be constructed below the Chamkhar bridge on both the Gangrithang and Chamkhar banks. The works are expected to start soon when the river level is lowest.

Pema Lethro said the walls this time will be built differently from the previous ones. “Walls will be constructed in boxes while the previous walls were in mesh,” he said.

“Old walls were huge and hefty and a small destruction led to the destruction of the whole structure,” he said, adding that the new ones could easily be replaced if destroyed.

There were some areas along the bank that posed threats last monsoon. Residents along the banks spent sleepless nights whenever it rained.

Nima Wangdi | Bumthang

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