Amochhu River embankment mitigates flood threats

Business houses along the Amochhu River are operating smoothly, unhampered by monsoon rains unlike last year, when the entire left bank was flooded resulting in losses worth millions.

Last year, around this time, a flash flood washed away entire structures including workshops forcing business entities to close shop temporarily.

However, today, thanks to embankment works carried out by three private construction companies: Rigsar, Chukha and Yangkhil Construction Companies the river has been trained and is flowing towards the right bank, saving the entire left bank from flooding.

The embankment works started last winter. Since then, the river has not reached the area which it flooded last year and possibility of such occurrence is low even with monsoon mid-way.

More than 30 different business houses comprising automobile workshops, godowns, warehouses, and small manufacturing plants form the business community along Amochhu. The National Housing Development Corporation Limited is constructing two new buildings along the bank.

Property and equipment worth millions were lost in last year’s flood.

“This year, we are confident about running our business since the river is flowing right. The area is secure and the threat is gone,” said Proprietor of TCS Workshop, Tashi Wangdi.

The workshop has already recovered losses worth Nu 600,000 suffered due to the earlier disaster. The government compensated Tashi Wangdi and with the amount he has installed bodies for his dumper trucks so that his company can also take part in river mitigation works if needed.

Rigsar Construction Company’s works had been stalled two weeks in 2016. But according to the manager, Tshewang Dhendup, as of now risks posed by the river are minimal due to the embankment construction.

However, the proprietor of a bricks manufacturing plant, Tenzin Dorji, said the threat still lingers especially during peak monsoon. “The monsoon has not ended. We cannot guarantee safety,” he said, “We must remain vigilant.”

Karma Feeds, a feed manufacturing plant has resumed business in full swing. The company had remained closed for three days after it was flooded.

Meanwhile, the companies are working tirelessly on the embankment to ensure the safety of settlements along the bank. “We are safe right now but are equally facing challenges as the river currents are becoming stronger,” said the proprietor of Chukha Construction, Ugay Tshering, “We are spending sleepless nights.”

Bad road condition remains another challenge for the business entities along Amochhu. Potholes filled with rainwater discourage customers from visiting the location for services.

“We would be happy if the road condition is looked into immediately,” said JB Engineering’s proprietor.

With Amochhu Land Development and Township Project and the Phuentsholing-Chamkuna access road along Phuentsholing-Samtse Highway in the pipeline, development activities in these areas are currently on halt.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing