Loud noises from construction works in town have been keeping residents up at night. While residents complain about the issue, some home builders and contractors cited time constraints to complete their projects.
Many residents that The Bhutanese talked to said noise from machinery, drilling, demolition and other kinds of activity on construction sites are very distressing particularly in what is otherwise quiet areas.
Many parents who have young children at home are unhappy about the loud noises and a few said they didn’t have the time to complain about it to authorities. Tshering, a mother in the Chubachu area said, “After a few hours, I manage to get some sleep but again the noise wakes up my seven month old son and there is no way I can put him back to sleep with this noise”.
Apart from the noise, dust and the movement of trucks, many parents also expressed concerns about the lack of safety measures by the contractors which they feel will result in construction materials falling on their cars and children.
Sonam, a resident in the Hongkong market area said “Everyday there are small concrete things thrown or falling on the way along which our kids walk and it scares us”.
Students from the Royal Institute of Health and Sciences (RIHS) said construction noises in the campus make it hard for them to sleep or study. Ugyen, a hostel resident said “the machines’ noise that continues even after midnight is upsetting and after that the laborers keep shouting. So we hardly get any good sleep”.
General Secretary of the Construction Association of Bhutan (CAB) Chheku Dukpa said the issue can be addressed by authorities such as the Labor ministry. “We don’t make the rules”, he said. He added that the association has nothing to do with the particular issue.
A contractor in the capital said, “It happens on rare occasions when we need to meet certain deadlines like in the case of government projects”. He said it was normal practice for any construction company to work overtime in such cases.
Another contractor said the Rupee shortfall has also caused a huge shortage of labor and the construction companies have to manage with what is available by offering overtime incentives. “The limited workforce we have needs to make up for the shortage”, he said.
A home builder in Changzamtog area said, “Raw materials cannot be procured on time while prices continue to rise, there is no time to waste”. She also cited financial issues with the banks and that she needed to complete the building construction soon to repay her debts.