Truckers have been blocking the road to pressurise the project to unload the cement bags 

Transport: Over 50 trucks loaded with cement are stranded in Dzongkhalum, the approach road to Mangdechu hydropower project (MHP) dam after a slide from an abutment disrupted the dam foundation treatment works on July 9.

Frustrated with Jaiprakash Associates Limited’s (Jaypee Group) inaction for the past few days to unload the cement, the truckers who have driven from Phuentsholing and Nanglam started blocking the approach road to the dam site on July 14 and15. The truckers had come to deliver cement to the project.

“We are only trying to get the contractor act on unloading the cement,” a trucker, Damcho said.

Some of the trucks have been stranded for a week now. “Besides incurring losses of Nu 4,000 everyday, the truckers are also finding food and logistics issues because the place lacks business entities,” another trucker, Ngawang said.

While some have been taking cabs to Trongsa to eat, others are either cooking on their own or surviving on mess food from Jaypee. “We also had to buy rice at hefty prices of Nu 85-90 a kilogram from the only shop here,” another trucker, Karma said.

As of yesterday movement of vehicle from both inside the dam area and outside were impeded after the trucks blocked traffic.

“They must try to find space in other project areas like the power house, surge shaft or other tunnels to store these cement bags instead of holding the trucks here,” Damcho said.

Sources from Jaypee said a temporary disruption of foundation treatment works in a dam pit occurred following incessant rain and slides from the right and left abutment on July 9.

“Every store in Jaypee is full since cement works are interrupted by the slide,” an official from JP said, adding that attempts are being made to expedite unloading whenever there is space in its stores.

Jaypee also wrote to the Dungsam Cement Corporation Limited (DCCL) on July 13 to slow down the supply following the disruption.

“Supply has slowed down for the last four days,” the official said, adding that the trucks that have arrived are the ones that were already on the way.

MHPA meanwhile assured that the slide in the dam abutment is taken care of. The project’s slide assessment report stated the slides occurring due to reactivation of old slides. “Both slides are overburdened with sliding of soil and vegetation debris along with large and small boulders,” the report stated.

“The excavated rock slope are however safe and has been left untouched by these slides,” dam chief, Karma Chhophel said. He also said that the parallel works are still being carried out despite the slides. The debris deposited on the dam abutment benches is also being cleared.

“As an immediate measure, steel wire nets are fixed to avert boulders from rolling into the dam pit,” Karma Chhophel said.

The slide assessment report however recommended long-term measure to the sliding areas on both left and right abutment. “For proper assessment of the slide zones, the contractor maybe advised to submit a geological plan on section of slide area covering both slide zones,” the report stated.

Concrete works in the dam foundation treatment would resume as soon as the slide stops, Karma Chhophel said. He however denied of works being suspended.

“If the contractor has temporarily suspended the works, it is because of perceived risks from falling boulders to man and machinery,” the dam chief said.

Meanwhile, the trucks are likely to remain stranded until Jaypee arranges space for its cement load.

Tempa Wangdi, Trongsa