MTR: Works on the Dagapela-Dalbari secondary national highway in Dagana will resume soon, the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay has assured, following concerns raised during the midterm review of Dagana last week.

Local leaders said many are affected during the monsoon as the road passes through the five gewogs of Tshendagang, Goshi, Dorona, Gesarling and Deorali, hindering access to basic facilities like schools and health centres.

The Prime Minister said that the works and human settlement ministry will soon carry out maintenance works on the 31km Dagapela to Gesarling road before the onset of monsoon.

While works began in September 2014, the lowest bidder, who was disqualified for failing to meet the requirements, filed a complaint to both the ministry and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The commission asked the government to retender two of the three works after their investigation.

The government then terminated two of the three packages of work on the 80.58km secondary national highway from Dagapela to Dalbari in March, last year.

The first phase of terminated work from Dagapela to Gesarling was awarded to a joint venture between Gaseb Construction Company and an Indian company. The contract for a road from Gesarling to Odalthang was awarded to Tundi Construction, a private company from Nepal.

The Prime Minister said the government has settled the compensation matters with the Nepalese contractor. “But the contractors who were awarded the works from Dagapela to Gesarling were not willing to agree to the government’s compensation,” he said. The case is currently in court.

Had the contracts not been terminated, Lyonchoen said works would have been progressing well. “It is government’s priority to combat corruption, we have stopped the work immediately,” he said.

Lyonchoen said the government has also discussed the issue with foreign donors. The government is funding the construction of the road jointly with the government of the Netherlands at a cost of Nu 1.5 billion.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue