It is hoped that the youth will be encouraged to join the construction sector as a result 

Employment: The government will recruit unemployed youth to construct dzongs to address youth unemployment and address the labour shortage at construction sites.

Works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden, said the initiative could achieve two goals. It could address youth unemployment and professionalize the construction sector.

The labour ministry will deploy youth to construct the Pemagatshel, Trashigang, and Gasa dzongs. The project managements of these dzongs were consulted on how much work force they will require.

The youth will be employed through the Guaranteed Employment Programme.

“We selected the dzongs because they are massive constructions and need lots of workers for a long time,” Lyonpo Dorji Choden said.

The National Housing Development Corporation will also recruit youth to maintain government structures near the Tashichhodzong.

Chumey Technical Institute trainees will maintain government offices in Bumthang.

“We looked at the annual budget for the maintenance of the government offices, and realized it could be done,” the minister said.

Pemagatshel dzong construction project manager, Lhaden Dorji welcomed the initiative.

“There is shortage of labour and we’re managing somehow for now,” he said. He needs at least 80 helpers.

The minister said the initiative has come after much homework.

“After a lot of background work, the government thought this could be done as the dzongs require labour force for a longer period,” Lyonpo Dorji Choden said.

A task force advised against the government’s initial plan to encourage private companies employing only local youth for the project.

The task force after studying the issue, proposed that instead of going directly with the private sector, the government should pilot the initiative with works that are implemented by the ministry’s department.

“We explored how we can encourage youth to take part in works executed by the government,” lyonpo said. “We want to see how it goes on trial.”

The government is trying to see if it can establish a system or a mechanism to encourage our youth into the construction sector, she said.

Following an executive order issued by the works and human settlement ministry, a subcommittee was formed with members from the finance, home, and works and human settlement ministries.

“We’ll also provide basic amenities and try to make it enjoyable for them to work,” Lyonpo Dorji Choden said. A guideline for recruitment is already in place.

The labour ministry is also working on the wage for the workers.

Labour minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said that the ministry will send the first batch to Pemagatshel soon and recruiting will be carried out in Trashigang.

“Gasa is too cold now no one would want to go, but we’ll work on that too,” lyonpo said.

Should this initiative be successful, the government will consider giving it to the private sector.

Tshering Palden