Minister of Works and Human Settlement Dorji Tshering was questioned on the progress of the Trashigang-Samdrup Jongkhar road widening works during the Question and Answer session of the National Council yesterday.
National Council representative from Trashigang Lhatu pointed out that the works were not complete despite having started in 2007.
MP Lhatu said there is nother 25km more of the total 175km to complete and that it would take three more years, adding that commuters and people along the highway face difficulty due to the widening works.
“The works could have fast tracked if there was certain deadline maintained and if works were subcontracted to Construction Development Cooperation Limited (CDCL) or local contractors,” MP Lhatu said, adding that without deadline, it would delay the works.
The MoWHS minister informed the House that the ministry and DANTAK officials had a consultation in February this year on the issue. He added that on May 13, the Secretary, Director General of Department of Roads, Chief Engineer and DANTAK Officials made visit to the site.
The minister said 85% of the works were complete and they are left with 25km now from Tshelingkhor to Wamrong.
“The budget for road widening from Trashigang to Samdrup-Jongkhar is not included in the 12th Five Year Plan and it depends on the budget from India that is budgeted for 2019-2020 fiscal year,” the minister said.
Further, the minister said DANTAK does not have adequate number of workers as compared to local contractors.
“For the local workers, DANTAK cannot pay and to get from India, there is limit on the permissible work immigrants,” he said, adding that the project DANTAK has 400 workers – that is less than the required number of 700 workers.
The minister also said the government will look into provisions like hiring more workers from India.
“DANTAK estimates to complete the works in three years, but the ministry asked them to complete the works by two years with full support from the ministry,” Lyonpo Dorji Tshering said.
The minister said blacktopping works would be awarded to contractors to fast track the works as DANTAK doesn’t have the equipments.
MP Lhatu said while DANTAK is working hard, most of the road widening machineries are outdated and government should look into it.
The MoWHS minister said three excavators from CDCL were provided to the three contractors engaged in Yadi-Trashigang road widening works.
He added that the lack of budget is the biggest hurdle for construction of road in the country despite having adequate human resources, skills, and technology.
NC representatives from Haa and Trongsa also quizzed the minister on lack of supervision on Haa – Samtse highway and blacktopping works from the Trongsa viewpoint to Trongsa Dzong.
Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu