Amochhu Township project likely to start from Sept 2017

After keeping the Amochhu Land Development Township Project (ADLTP) waiting for more than 14 years, CDCL along with DHI and with a fund support from ADB, are expected to start their Zone A (phase 1) in September 2017.

Being a large scale project, ADB also doesn’t have funds to start the project at one go so they decided to go phase wise whereby the first phase is expected to start in September 2017 but only if ADB approves the project at the earliest and if they get funds on time.

For the first phase alone, the time duration is for five years but this is subject to further negotiation as they also have received instructions from the board to see if they can reduce the implementation period.

All the works related to Zone A is all ready as per the ADB guideline and rules; however, they are yet to submit it to ADB. On 1 March 2017, they presented all the work packages of Zone A for endorsement and approval which was endorsed by CDCL board and approved by DHI.

Tshering Dupchu, General Manager, Infrastructure division, CDCL said, “We know the anxiety that the people are having with the implementation of the project which was initially conceived in 2003. However, being a large scale project, it is not easy to start right away as there are lots of challenges and issues and this project will be the first of its kind in Bhutan.

He said, “When it comes to the overall master plan, we have to forecast the project for the next thirty to forty years.”  CDCL is the implementation agency while DHI is the owner and the main shareholder. However, they are working with the norms and rules of ADB.

Initially, he said that, the project cost was around Nu.15 bn, which comes to 215 mn USD. However, upon doing a cost optimization, the cost came down to Nu.13 bn, which comes around 210 mn USD.

He said, “ADB is going to fund 70 percent of the total amount while DHI has to inject 30 percent of the total amount”, adding that, they are gaining access to 1,146 acres of land, which is divided into four zones of A B C and D.

For Zone A, he said that, ADB has committed to fund 45 mn USD out of which 27.47 mn USD is coming as grant while 18.35 mn USD is coming as loan. In addition, he also said that, DHI has to inject around 10 mn USD. To start with Zone A, they have a total budget allocation of 55 mn USD.

Zone A, includes three packages. In the first package, they will do river training, amendment works and reclamation, in the second package they will do common urban structures like road network, water supply and wastewater and sewerage treatment while in package three, they will do telecommunication and power supply works.

The area which falls under Zone A is, along the left bank of the river starting from the tip of Kailashwar hill and going all the way till the Omchu (Doti Khola), which comes around 3.3 KM. The reason behind starting with Zone A is to protect the current Phuentsholing town area from immediate threat of flood risk.

Zone A, comprise of 162 acres of land, while Zone B comprise of 315 acres, Zone C comprise of 800 acres and Zone D comprise of 60 acres.

“There are almost 27 private landowners comprising around 16 acres of land in that area but after having consultation meetings with all the stakeholders and landowners, they were consolidated and relocated in the project area and so now there is no private land within the boundary of the project”, he added.

Talking about some of the challenges, he said the main challenge was in seeking fund support from international agencies, selling their project and facing challenges in relocating the land owners.

He also said that, “We have to convince the government on how good the project is thereby seeking the government’s support in terms of tax holidays, concession. There is also lack of expertise in country and manpower”. However, he said that, CDCL will employ 50 percent of Bhutanese workers and contractors.

He also said that, they will review the once again before submitting to ADB and once they submit to ADB, they might get the approval in a month’s time. Thereafter they would float the International Competitor Bidding (ICB) tender.

He also said that, the Bhutanese contractors can also participate through joint ventures and through association. However, he said that, a Bhutanese as a single entity may not qualify for the tender given the requirement of the scale of project.

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