Lack of proper planning, design and workmanship in construction: RAA
The government had incurred huge expenditure leading to wastage and inefficiencies due to lack of proper planning and design in the construction of capital infrastructure under disaster funding.
The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) conducted the audit under the mandate bestowed by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan and the Audit Act of Bhutan 2006. The Audit intended to review the activities related to disaster management for the period from 2010-2015.
Section 91 of the Disaster Management Act of Bhutan 2013 provides, “The Royal Audit Authority shall be the auditor all Disaster Management expenditure.”
The RAA on Perform- ance Audit of Disaster Management observed that agencies had comfortably attributed all construction failures to disaster and requested for additional funding under disaster budget. Further, the construction failures had apparently aggravated due to completion of construction towards monsoon season.
The RAA found despite the flaws in planning, design and ill-timing of construction, the authorities had not verified the cause of construction failures rather insisted on additional funding to re-construct the infrastructures. The agencies submit the budget proposal to Ministry of Finance (MoF) under disaster funding , then the MoF does not have adequate measures in place to verify whether the damage to infrastructure was genuinely due to natu- ral disaster or due to some other man-made factors.
According to the Performance Audit of Disaster Management, the Tashigang Dzongkhag Administration had constructed a retaining wall for football ground expansion at Tashigang Middle Secondary School at a cost of Nu.2.089 million in 2012. However, following the complete collapse of the wall reportedly due to heavy rainfall, an additional amount of Nu.37.106 million had been approved for the reconstruction.
Tashigang Dzongkhag also constructed a bailey bridge (Pangzam) over Merak Ama River at a cost of Nu.12.413 million in 2013. However, the bridge was found defective and unusable after 10 months (October 2014) of taking over from the contractor, and currently the bridge is barred from public commuting.
The authority also reported that the defective works was apparently due to lack of proper feasibility study, design, monitoring and supervision of the work, it was again attributed to natural disaster and budget was approved by the MoF for the reconstruction of the bridge at the same location.
Pemagatshel Dzongkhag has constructed a retaining wall at Dratshang in 2012 at a cost of Nu.8.9 million. However, the wall could sustain only till monsoon and collapsed in July 2012. Later, the wall was re-constructed at an additional cost of Nu.3.7 million.
The Dzongkhag Administration of Trongsa had constructed a truck parking at a cost of Nu.5.4 million. The construction got washed away due to mudslides originating above the construction sites.
While the Dzongkhag Administration has not requested for additional funds for re-construction, the initial contract amount of Nu.5.4 million tantamount to wastage of government resource.
The RAA observed that the prevalence of such practices have been facilitated by absence of proper disaster budgeting system and collaboration between the Dzongkhag and the relevant ministry in planning and designing the construction activities.
The authority found that the failures were due to lack of expertise in designing and planning infrastructures, especially of mega size and complex nature.