Whose responsibility?

The construction sector is full of surprises except for those in the business. It is not about works getting complete in record time, but the controversies.

Not many were surprised when a contractor, who failed to execute his share of work of the lateral East-West Highway Construction got terminated, was awarded another major work in Dagana two years ago. Many accepted that was the way how construction sector functioned.

The construction industry is one of the main contributors to economic growth. Its success has become imperative for the country’s development. Most construction projects in Bhutan are carried out for basic infrastructures like road, school and hospital buildings.

When we look at the present scenario of construction industry, delays, misuse of resources, bribery and corruption are part of the industry as if it has become an accepted norm over time. 

Accountability on the waste of scarce state resources and time seems to be  missing all the time. We hear controversies, but not of officials and contractors involved in any of these problems held accountable.

The Office of the Attorney General’s recommendation to terminate a construction project that started in 2010 at the College of Science and Technology and resume the construction earliest comes as a timely intervention.

As stated, it is an educational infrastructure project which should benefit students the most. Infrastructure should benefit the intended end-users.

OAG’s commitment to charge all those responsible for the delay to court is also welcome news. But it also reasoned out that prosecution should not impose cost escalation to the government and college should not suffer. 

We know how precious infrastructure is when we have many students studying in cramped classrooms and sleeping in congested hostels because of construction delays resulting in court cases. 

Students and teachers of Phongmey and Bidung schools in Trashigang also bear the brunt of such cases today.

The people of Naro gewog feel cheated too. They waited a decade to reap benefits from their 29km gewog centre road, which was supposed to be completed in a year. They are still waiting. 

Those responsible for the delays should be held accountable. Who is responsible and who will take actions?

The construction management had changed three times. And officials have come and gone. They cited the difficult terrain, climatic conditions and financial constraints for the delay. Theses are no excuses. The terrain and other conditions were there when they applied for the work.

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