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Contractor flees after leaving road incomplete

A 3.6km farm road from Laptsakha connecting Nindulakha inTading gewog has been left incomplete. The villagers say that the contractor after completing the first cutting has stopped the work and fled.

M/S Menlha Builders started the work in December 2016 at a cost of Nu 2.6mn. The work was supposed to complete within six months. However, the road is in a bad state and the villagers are suffering. Even the first cutting has also not reached the destination according to Kar Man Rai, a villager. The contractor worked only for two months citing a summer break. Laptsakha Chiwog Tshogpa Gun Raj Ghalley said that the matter was reported to the gewog administration. The work was later resumed after two months. “They after completing back-cutting of one kilometer stopped the work and has not resumed it,” said the Tshogpa.

The gewog has awarded the work after having excess budget in 2016 to connect to Nindulakha village.  The road is expected to benefit almost 30 households with 200 plus population of Nindulakha and Gangtokha villages in the chiwog. “People are spread and are willing to return if the road is connected to their villages,” said Gun Raj Ghalley.

Still people carry their loads to reach their homes. It is more than two hours’ walk from Laptsakha to reach Nindulakha. The villagers said that they have been facing problems during emergencies. “It is very difficult during emergencies,” said Kar Man Rai.

“Since they might have forecasted a loss, the work could have been stopped,” a farmer said.

The villagers cultivate cardamom and other vegetables but lack of road access has been a challenge. “We have to carry our products for hours to reach the market and we are late. We also get delayed medical facilities without road during emergencies,” said Gun Raj Gurung, a Nindulakha villager.

Only around 80% of the work is complete after assessment. And action is expected to be taken against the contractor. It is almost a year that the work has been stopped at the site. He said that the contractor has not reported on anything which has led him to stop the work.

Meanwhile, Tading Gewog Engineer Tshering Wangchuk said that the road was left incomplete due to budget deficit. The engineer said that the contractor has completed the work as per the term. The work was tendered at Nu 2.7mn which was insufficient. “The work was estimated to cost more than Nu 10mn. Since there is limited budget, we had to limit the budget. The contractor has done his work according to the drawings,” said Tshering Wangchuk.

Now, the gewog plans to resume permanent structure work including drainage. Tading Gup Jagath Bdr. Ghalley said that a team has been deployed including gewog engineers and the Mangmi to assess the work progress. The gewog has tried to contact the contractor numerous times but could not communicate. “We will report to the dzongkhag and take necessary action against the contractor,” he said. The gewog is planning to terminate the contractor after reporting to the dzongkhag. The contractor has left some construction materials at the village.

Krishna Ghalley from Tading, Samtse