Dagapela – Dalbari road behind schedule again

The much-awaited Dagapela-Dalbari secondary national highway in Dagana is likely to be behind schedule again by almost a year.

The 80km road, which passes through the five gewogs of Tsendagang, Gozhi, Dorona, Gesarling and Karmaling in Dagana and expected to be complete by January 2019, is now scheduled for completion by December 2019.

The construction resumed in March 2017 after it was stopped for almost two years and around 60% of the works that include formation cutting, the laying of base course and the construction of retaining walls and drains along the road had been completed as of April 2018.

And presently around 66% of the project is complete, according to Project Manager Pema Thinley.

This means that only 6% of the works have been completed from April to December this year.

According to the project manager, around 97.52% of formation cutting/first cutting were complete, which is around 78.58kms out of the total 80.58kms, 65.87% (53.08kms) of base course (layers below blacktopping layer) were complete, and 70.95% (57.17kms) of permanent works like drains and culverts have been completed so far. Further, blacktopping over the stretch of road from Lhamoidzingkha has already begun and 70.95% (57.172kms) have been completed.

The Netherlands government under its ORIO project and the government are funding the construction, which is estimated to cost Nu 1.5bn.

Meanwhile, the project construction was suspended and then later terminated on March 2015 by the works and human settlement ministry following the Anti-Corruption Commissionโ€™s investigation.

And of the project with three packages โ€“ A, B and C, the ACC asked the government to re-tender two of the three packages, Package B and C, following their investigation. It was accordingly done and the two packages of B and C were then divided into four packages.

Meanwhile, Package A awarded at the cost of Nu 355mn is from Dalbari to Odalthang, which is about 29kms. After two of the three packages of the work totaling 80.58kms were terminated, Package B (Gesarling to Odalthang) was awarded to Tundi Construction, a private company from Nepal. Package C (Dagapela to Gesarling) was awarded to a joint venture between Gaseb Construction and an Indian company.

Norzang Construction is carrying out works on package C1 and C2 between Dagapela-Geserling stretch, while Druk Lhayul Construction is carrying out package B1 and B2 between Geserling and Odalthang.

According to the project manager, they expect the construction to complete on time. The blacktopping works from Dagana side will start from the coming week and the works are in full swing.

He added the road will benefit the people of Dagana and Tsirang once complete, minimize time travel to Phuentsholing and bring development in the five gewogs of Dagana.

โ€œThe secondary national highway is expected to enhance economic efficiency and competitiveness of the export industry by providing faster and more reliable freight movement in Dagana and Tsirang dzongkhag,โ€ he added.

Tshering from Thimphu