Lack of proper plan­ning, de­sign and work­man­ship in con­struc­tion: RAA

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

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.

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