Shoddy pipework leaves Pam PS high and dry

The contractor has been accused of not properly preparing the groundwork

Water: Soon after a new water source was constructed for Pam primary school (PPS) last year, the water pipes started to break resulting in an acute water shortage for months.

The school blames it on the shoddy work carried out by a local contractor, M/S Chengla Construction, and accuses them of not properly laying the water pipes underground.

M/S Chengla Construction was awarded the Nu 2.59M (million) worth contract to carry out the construction of drainage, retaining walls, pavement, water supply and fencing works at PPS on July 6, 2013.

Since the contractor was already involved in constructing the school principal’s quarter, the additional work was also awarded to him.  The contract period was for two months.

Without proper trenching work carried out, teachers said that villagers and animals damaged the pipes frequently, while the school had to carry out frequent maintenance.

“At times, we had to repair the damages every week and, still then, we’d face water shortage,” one of the teachers, Tashi Rabten said. “We recently repaired the pipes again it won’t last long. We doubt the pipes are of poor quality.”

School principal, Kelzang Tenzin, said that, even when there is water, it was only a trickle.

“Looking at the poor quality of work, we refused to take over the completed work from the contractor several times,” he said.

When the school took over the work, he said, it was with a condition that the contractor would carry out rectification work using the security deposit of Nu 250,000. “But nothing has materialised so far,” he said.

Despite asking the contractor to start rectification work and informing the dzongkhag administration regarding the problems, he added that the contractor took no heed.

“We feel that there was a technical fault while constructing the pavement. During summer time, water seeps into it and the pavement bricks are sinking as well,” another teacher said.

Meanwhile, fearing the worst, villagers of Pam wrote to the dzongkhag administration last year, asking for their intervention.

“Our children were getting affected because of the water problem, so the villagers unanimously decided to take the matter to the dzongkhag,” Pam tshogpa, Kinzang Namgyel said.

After the villagers complained, the dzongkhag administration carried out an investigation.

The dzongkhag education officer (DEO), Phuntsho, said a team from the dzongkhag visited the water source, and found that, although the pipes were of genuine quality, the contractor had not properly trenched the pipes.

“We’ll be writing to the contractor to take up the rectification work and we’ve estimated the cost as well,” the DEO said. “Work will begin soon.”

Should the contractor refuse to take up the work, the security deposit amount of Nu 250,000 would be used to involve another contractor for the job.  The contractor, however, couldn’t be contacted.

By Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang

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