A stretch of road that runs above the Olakha automobile workshop area leading to project DANTAK office developed cracks and was closed to traffic since November 22.

About 20 meters of road and the roadside drain towards the hillside developed cracks. While some residents say that an excavation work on a plot below the road caused the crack, Thimphu thromde’s chief engineer, Karma Jamtsho, said that the plot owner had approval to construct a house and that the thromde is yet to find the main cause.

He, however, said that the road gave in when the owner started dismantling the old house and pulled down the debris. A physical inspection showed that the plot owner did not excavate close to the road and that the area appears stable. “That amount of excavation, which is not so close to the highway, should not cause that kind of cracks.”

The owner of the plot said she would comment after meeting the concerned stakeholders involved in the issue.

Karma Jamtsho said they suspect that seepage from DANTAK camp’s unmanaged drain water above the road loosened the soil causing the road to give in when the house below was dismantled. “A technical team led by thromde’s development control division investigated the area.”

A member from the investigation team said they are analysing the findings and drafting a report to the thromde management. The team looked into finding the main cause of the damage and to verify whether it was caused by the underground seepage.

“If we know the causes then we can come up with an appropriate solution to stabilise it,” Karma Jamtsho said. If it were proven that the damage to public property is caused due to negligence of private work, the concerned owner or contractor would have to bear the cost of stabilising the area. “We prepare a cost estimate and either tell them to repair it or deposit the money so that we can do the work.”

According to section 14.6 of the Bhutan Building Rules 2002, private or public properties interfered or damaged during construction are restored or reinstated to the satisfaction of the implementing authority or the affected property owner.

Section 2 (B) of the Thimphu Thromde Development Control Regulations 2016 also states that any damage to any infrastructure during the course of construction should be the liability of the own-er or contractor and should be repaired or restored at the earliest.

The section states that if the infrastructure damage is beyond repair, the owner or contractor shall abide by the fines or penalty imposed by the thromde.

It also states that the issuance of occupancy certificate would be withheld if the concerned party has not repaired or reinstated the public or state property damaged during construction to its original condition.

Meanwhile, the plot owner was asked to stop the excavation work until thromde comes up with ways to stabilise the site. The road would also remain close to traffic until the area is stabilised.

Karma Cheki