A BHU, science lab and teacher’s quarter remain incomplete four years after work started 

Construction: After waiting for almost four years, the people of Bara gewog in Samtse have given up the hope of a basic health unit (BHU), a science laboratory, and a teacher’s quarter for Sherabgatshel lower secondary school.

The construction works have not resumed since the termination of the two contractors last year.  The contractors were terminated after they were found to have breached the contract agreement.

The contractors were given extra time with penalty to complete the work, but they still could not complete the work.

Rinchen Dorji, ex-gup of Bara, said that terminating the contractors at the last moment was not the best option.

“Why was there the need to terminate them when the construction was about to finish?” asked Rinchen Dorji.  There should have been proper checks and balances in place, he added.

The contractors were working in haste, said some villagers, who think the quality of work could have suffered.  Villagers said they never saw the work being supervised.

Portions of the science lab have already started to disintegrate.

Currently, the BHU is being used as the gewog’s meeting hall.  Teachers live in crammed huts, and the school’s classroom is being used as a science lab.

“There is immediate need of a separate space for definite purposes,” said a tshogpa.

KS Construction and Druk Tshering Construction that worked on the construction of the BHU and the science lab.  Tashi Pelvar Construction had taken over the construction of a teacher’s quarter.

The company constructing the BHU deposited an amount of Nu 1.6(M) million as penalty and resumed the work.  However, the work could not be completed.

Two contractors are currently facing court cases.

“We’re waiting for the verdict from the court,” said Sipsu dungpa, Karma Tshueltrim.

The budget for the one-storey BHU is Nu 4.6M, Nu 3.3M for the two-storey science laboratory, and Nu 4.8M for the two-storey teacher staff quarter.  An additional Nu 0.4M million was spent on the staff quarter.

Sangay Khandu, Samtse’s National Council representative, said the construction of the infrastructures in Bara had become a serious problem.

“The issue was been discussed with the dungkhag and dzongkhag authorities right after my first constituency visit,” said Sangay Khandu. “I practically believe the failure is from the contractors’ side.”

By Rajesh Rai, Bara