Residents of Choeten Kora town in Trashiyangtse can now heave a sigh of relief, as the dzongkhag municipality decided to build a flood protection wall along the Serkang stream.

The dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) last year ordered that a wall be built along the stream after the residents raised concerns that the swelling stream in monsoon poses flood threats.

Works on the 475-metre wall began since November last year.

According to the municipal officials, almost 40 percent of the works have been completed so far.

Unlike the flood protection in Trashigang (rectangular), the protection wall in Yangtse would be a trapezoid and would use the technique of plum concreting.

The municipal assistant engineer, Tashi Rabten, said as per the request from the dzongkhag, they had come up with an effective design that would incur minimum expenditure. “The design is made in a way that it would allow us to construct footpath along the stream in the future.”

Serkang stream that runs through the heart of the Choeten Kora town has a history of swelling unpredictably. In June 2016, the stream swelled at midnight forcing people to evacuate the town towards the new dzong area.

Locals say that the stream swelling occurred several times. “Even during a bright sunny day, the stream swells suddenly leaving us worried all the time,” one of the residents said.

According to the former chimi, Nima Wangchuk, the stream swells especially during auspicious days (15th and 30th day of the Bhutanese calendar).

Local people claim that the source of the stream is located at a cliff called Tongbrak (thousand-cliff). “Inside the cliff, it is believed that there are a thousand monks meditating. During auspicious occasions, when the monks perform rituals at the cliff, the water level rises,” Nima Wangchuk said.

Given the unpredictable nature of the stream, the thromde ngotsab, Ugyen Lhamo, said that the matter had to be prioritised for the safety of the people.

“It was troublesome,” a resident, Dorji, said. “During summer, we had to be ready to leave the house anytime. We lived in fear until we heard that the dzongkhag is constructing a protection wall. It was a big relief.”

The construction of the wall is divided into two phases –Phase I includes the construction of 300-metre of the total 475-metre which is expected to complete by May. The second phase would be completed within the 2017-18 financial year.

Around Nu 14.5 million would be spent in the construction of the wall.

Meanwhile, works on expansion work on the two bridges have also begun in the dzongkhag. Given the smaller dimensions of the existing bridges (one above Choeten Kora and one another the Police Camp), Tashi Rabten said that it had to be expanded for the safety reasons.

The two new RCC bridges would be 3-metre high and 10-metre wide.

Younten Tshedup | Trashiyangtse