ADB’s grant to come to the city’s rescue

Infrastructure: The critically damaged roads and drainage system in and around Olakha, Changbandu, Semtokha and Babesa would get a facelift within months, Thimphu thromde officials said.

The works and human settlement ministry has submitted estimates of restorations works in November last year. The thromde office is yet to receive instructions from the Cabinet.

Asian Development Bank has agreed to fund the restoration works with USD 4.26 million.

After prioritising, the thromde office submitted to the Cabinet that at least 37 kilometres of the city’s roads, 8.7km of drains, and 7.52km footpath need immediate repairs.

“There are more roads that need to be restored but these stretches have to be repaired immediately so we had to prioritise because the budget was limited,” thromde’s head of roads and bridges section, Sangay Wangdi said.

“We’d be covering the storm water drains with slabs and convert them in to footpaths, because many people dump waste in the drains.”

However, the release of the budget is expected to take some time because it has to follow standard procedures, which could take more than three months at least.

“From the technical side we’re ready with estimates if the budget comes through,” the engineer said.

Meanwhile residents in south Thimphu have to bear with clogged drains and potholes for a little longer.

For the past few weeks places including Olakha, Babesa, Semtokha and Changbangdu experienced frequent clogging of drains and littering after the contractor responsible for the tasks was terminated in December last year.

“For the past month the area has been unattended, but we send some people to clean the Expressway and critical areas,” Sangay Wangdi said.

The contractor was paid Nu 255,000 every month to clean the road and drains in the area. However, the thromde office found the contractor failed to fulfil the terms of the contract.

“As soon as the thrompon takes office, we’d know what to do next,” Sangay Wangdi said.

The thromde office could either carry out works itself, despite a small labour force of 122 workers, or retender them for contract. Retendering could be difficult, as it would take more time for the office to prepare bids and float the tenders because there is only five months to close the fiscal year.

Residents said the condition of roads and drains have worsened in the past few months.

“None seemed to work on them despite their deteriorating state,” a resident in Babesa said. Some took to social media to complain about stretches of road deteriorating.

Sangay Wangdi said budget shortage had hampered proper maintenance of the roads and drainage.

As of June last year the city has 243 kilometres of blacktopped roads.

Tshering Palden