Residents in Kanglung face water shortage after Construction company dumps construction waste

About 48 households in Kanglung town and nearby areas are facing acute water shortage for about a

month now after a construction company disposed its construction waste near a water source making the water supply muddy and not usable for either drinking or washing.

Funded by the Government of India (GOI), Nu 50 mn project on the Construction of Water Supply Scheme in Kanglung Regional Hub was awarded to M/s Chimi RD Private Limited and is being implemented by Trashigang Dzongkhag  Administration.

After series of complaints filed by affected households, the Gewog Administration without any consultation with the affected households decided that the best solution for the problem would be to relocate the old water tank which is located below the new water Treatment Plant.

In order to relocate the water tank, the construction company and the gewog administration decided that they will share the cost of the work where the company will bear 50 per cent of the cost meanwhile affected households will bear other 50 per cent of the cost of which every household have to contribute Nu 1500.

Initially most households refused to pay Nu 1500 as they believed that the full cost should be borne by the construction company as the water sources was damaged by the company. However, Kanglung Gup informed the people that if households do not contribute the amount their water connection will be cut off because of which most household agreed to contribute the money.

Project engineer, Tshering Tenzin said, “As there was no proper place to the dump the waste, we had to dump the waste near water source but our intention was not to damage their water source”.

Kanglung Mangmi Kuenzang Tobgay said, “Kanglung did not have water related issues in the past, the recent shortage of water in Kanglung town is because of the ongoing project on water supply scheme due to improper disposal of waste”.

He said, “What people have to understand is that minor issues like this will occur but in the long run, the project will only benefit the people because the project is expected to cater to 4 chiwogs in  Kanglung. People need to cooperate with us.”

Naku, 81, said, “I was out of village when the problem started in the town but one morning an official from gewog office came to my house saying every household in town areas has decided to contribute

Nu 1500 for relocating the water tank.”

Chimi Wangmo, 27 from the upper town area said,  “People who are working can pay Nu 1500 but gewog and dzongkhag official need to think about villagers who cannot afford to pay Nu 1500 and why are we paying money for the mistake done by the construction company”.

Another villager, Kesang Choden, 48 who reside in nearby village near Sherubtse college said, “Whilemany are willing to pay the money, there are few who cannot afford to pay especially villagers like me. No matter what, we are not going to pay the money.”

Minjur Gembo, 45 from Serthi village said, “ “While doing any kind of construction project, it is inevitable to generate a significant amount of waste but that does not mean people can dispose their waste anywhere. Even the law says any waste resulting from constriction project should be dumped in a proper place and by dumping their waste near our water source, they are violating the law”.

“Many people have decided to contribute the money but I feel that people should not pay money because if they have damaged our water sources they are also responsible to relocate water tank if they feel that we have constructed our water tank at inappropriate location. Moreover, before starting the project, they should have done some study,” added Gembo.

The project which started on October 12, 2017 is expected to complete by October 2019.

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