Sports enthusiasts in Tsirang were excited when the Bhutan Olympic Committee started constructing an indoor multi-sports hall in Damphu town in 2020. But even after almost three years, work still remains incomplete today. And there seems to be no surety as to when the facility will be ready.
The work to construct the single-storied multi-sports hall was scheduled for completion in May 2021. But the contract duration was extended by seven months till December considering the disruption caused by the covid pandemic. But the sports facility is still not ready.
Once complete, the sports arena will have volleyball, basketball, badminton and table tennis courts. The hall will also offer spaces for boxers and karate enthusiasts.
But people are growing frustrated waiting for the prolonged construction works to complete.
“The youth were really excited with the news that we would have an indoor sports hall. But the works are never finished, so it isn’t very pleasant,” said Jigme Sangay Wangpo, a youth.
“The indoor sports hall will benefit the youth. Once it is ready, we will not have to play basketball in the open bearing the extreme cold or rain in summer,” said Kinley Gyeltshen.
“The indoor sports hall which is under construction is right next to my house. But at the moment, we have to travel around a kilometre to play basketball. Playing basketball with friends helps us relax and be happy,” said Lhendup Yoesel Dorji.
The District Chief Engineer who is also the site engineer said the project deadline was once again extended till October of last year. He said the construction company is now working on a penalty meaning he is being fined for every delayed day. He is not sure when the work will finish.
Meanwhile, the contractor currently in Thimphu told BBS over the phone that more than 80 per cent of the works have been completed. He said the remaining works are delayed due to difficulty in hiring workers and importing construction materials.
“While importing construction materials, we have to make real-time gross settlements but financial institutions refuse to accept it when the contract duration is expired or not extended. Similarly, hiring labourers will not be possible without time extension,” said Neten Wangdi, the proprietor of Neten Construction.
The contractor added that the District Administration has not responded to his appeal letters for another contract extension. He said he is currently in a dilemma about whether to continue or quit.
The Indian government is financing the project worth around Nu 35 M.
Pema Tshewang, Tsirang
Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen
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