Guwahati contractor issued ultimatum by authorities for failing to repair craft bazaar stalls

A meeting of the Natural Resource Development Corporation (NRDCL) and the Association for Promotion of Indigenous Crafts (APIC) to discuss on the prolonged craft bazaar repairs on March 1 ended with the decision to issue an ultimatum to Guwahati’s Green Earth Bamboo Tech contractor Subir Kumar Sen.

It has been decided that Subir  Kumar Sen will be requested to carry out repairs of the craft bazaar for the last time and failure on his part to do so will lead to termination of the contract and forfeiting of the balance amount  of Nu 1.66 mn payable to him.

General Manager of NRDCL Pema Wangdi said that the contractor was supposed to be in the capital on February 6 to talk about the problems faced by the craft bazaar. “This is the last notice for him and if he does not turn up, he won’t be paid.”

The bazaar stalls suffer from poor quality and workmanship making it difficult for vendors to run business.

The contractor has failed to respond to many calls to attend to problems such as poor wooden flooring and leakage from bamboo ply roofs. Some items of high value were destroyed due to leakage from the joints in the gutter systems; additionally, there are risks of electric short-circuit from the meters placed directly below the leakage points, and the axis holding heavy front shutters are weak, hinges are twisted and disoriented making the stall insecure, and the joints of bamboo plies not sealed from outside making the craft bazaar weak and unsafe for shoppers as well as stall owners.

With the tourist season approaching, many visitors are expected to frequent the bazaar, therefore attending to the above problems in time is a priority. The owner of Tashi Norphel, Tandin Gyelmo, said that she is happy with the opportunity to sell her stuff though the business has not been as expected especially in the month of January. “I hope that with the coming up of the tourist season the business will pick up. Anyway, as of now I am worried that repairing of the stalls may lead to shut down of the stall for a few days.”

However the stall owners are positive that the dateline will be met and the stalls will be repaired.

The repair options agreed upon by the authorities are to use plain aluminum sheets under the existing bamboo ply roofs and screws to make the roofs stronger and water proof.

The use of pudding, which is water proof, at all the joints and leaking points of the gutters is another option.

Besides that, replacing the axis wood frames by a stronger 2 inches X 1 inch frames with new hinges (Kabja) would ensure that the frame is strong enough to bear the weight of heavy shutters,

Also, the two joint bamboo piles would be sealed from both inside and outside.

“Plans for plain corrugated sheet for the roofing had to be dropped as it is very expensive. Per square feet of the sheet costs around Nu 80 and we have to buy around 12,000 square feet. Now we are planning on CGI sheets which are comparatively cheap.”

The repair works would start on March 7, undertaken either by the contractor or NRDCL and will be completed by March 31. Then the redone craft bazaar will be formally handed over to APIC on  April 2.

There are 80 stalls in the craft bazaar which was initiated by Lyonchhen with a budget of Nu 7mn jointly funded by UNDP and the government.


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