Government yet to close accounts with DCAL for mitigation works

The Dungsam Cement Authority Ltd (DCAL) which has spent more than Nu 16mn to mitigate damages caused by an artificial lake expects more disturbances at the site. This means more works to contain the situation.

The amount spent to contain live-threats from the artificial lake was to be refunded by the Government to the project but it has not happened as of date.

The Chief Executive Officer of DCAL, Dorji Norbu during the annual Druk Holding and Investments (DHI) press conference said, “This year we are expecting some trouble. We had over 1000 millimeter of rainfall in April. It was too early and it did not pose any threat but we are skeptical as to what will happen in July and August.”

The issue surfaced in the print media back in August last year.

An artificial lake had formed 500 meters upstream of the factory site in July 2010 as a result of a massive landslide which blocked Kerungchu. The lake is about 2.8 meters deep, 190 meters long and 42 meters wide. The retention of approximately 23,000 cubic meters of water is considered ample enough to damage human settlements and infrastructure downstream should the lake burst.

Back then, the project had taken care of it technically. However, the lake formed once more in August 2010. Once more threats had been mitigated.

“It was not a problem for the DCAL but for the temporarily located shops near the project site,” he said. The shops were located 0.75 meters above the highest flood level.

“It was big potential threat to those who resided there and the project did all they could to mitigate the threat. In that                      way one season passed,” he added.

However, the mitigation was not an end to itself. In 2011, the slide from below the farm road was cleared but came in a massive way from the sides. The river was blocked for couple of times and was cleared. Also, half of the double-lane road connecting the site (Nganglam- Gyelpozhing Highway) was washed off together with a retaining wall which was built at Nu 4mn.

This year the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) along with the Government were supposed to carry out some mitigation works, said the CEO. “Whatever walls were built and the mitigation methods carried out were by DCAL that’s it and nothing more has happened,” he added.

The Director General of DDM, Namgay Wangchuk said that between the end of last year and the beginning of this year, the department proposed a lake mitigation budget through Nganglam Dungkhag. The finance ministry allotted some budget. “Since the project involves a huge budget, it is to be carried out in phases and the first phase of the work has to be completed before the end of June,” he said.

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