OPINION: Were the inaugurations rushed?
SARPANG, Bhutan (Kuensel/ANN) - Inaugurated Gelephu sub-district office and Tsirang hospital are not operational.
While many people in Gelephu, Serzhong and Chuzergang are questioning why the Gelephu drungkhag (sub-district) office was not shifted to the recently inaugurated office in Umling county, people who know that its construction is incomplete question why it was inaugurated.It has been more than a month after the drungkhag administration office in Umling gewog’s Thangzor village was officially inaugurated.
But the new office is still under construction.
At the site, some painters, both expats and locals, were rushing to finish the external painting of the building located at the top of a small slope above the Umling gewog centre.
The electric wires are strewn outside and inside the building. The floor tiles are not yet laid. At the only double storied room, which locals say, is the meeting hall and altar room, the ceilings are yet to be fixed.
There is no water connection and the access road to the new drungkhag office is narrow and not blacktopped.
As of September 7, the Gelephu-Umling county centre road was also not pliable, as the bridge over Taklai river is still under construction.
People of Umling use the public transport bus until Chuzergang and then cross two bridges to reach the county.
The drungkhag office, today functions out of its old office near Gelephu town.
A Chuzergang resident, Tshering, said a lot of people assumed the drungkhag office was shifted to Umling after the media hype on the inauguration.
“We know that it is not even 60 percent complete and it might take another two to three months to complete it,” he said. “But it is not certain when they would shift the office.”
A Serzhong resident, Yonten, questioned if inaugurating a public institutionwithout even completing it was legal.
“As a layman, I understand that we inaugurate when we complete the work. But it is different here,” he said. “How will the drungkhag officials justify to the Royal Audit Authority.”
A civil servant in the locality said he heard there were orders to use the drungkhag official seal as Umling but they did not receive the order yet.
The construction of the office began in November 2015. Relocating the sub-district was one of the pledges of the former government and people claim the then government rushed to prove that their pledge is fulfilled.
While drungkhag officials were not available for comments, a senior official said the construction would be completed within a month.
However, a civil servant in Gelephu said it was not even 50 percent complete when it was inaugurated.
Many Umling residents are however, happy that the office is inaugurated.
Rikey Dorji, 58, said there were fears that the drungkhag office will be shifted to a new place in Chuzergang. “Now that it is inaugurated here, no one can shift it.”
He said Umling would develop once the drungkhag office is shifted. “We will have a pliable road throughout the year.”
Tshering Lhamo, 28, said infrastructure would develop once the monsoon is over. “
In Tsirang, the 20-bedded hospital, which was also inaugurated in July, is not complete.
While the hospital still operates from the old infrastructure, men are at work at the new hospital’s construction site. Metal windowpanes are stacked in front of the hospital.
An official from health ministry said the completion time is extended till September 20.
He said the hospital is 98.5 percent complete and the management will shift phase-wise by the end of this month.
CT scan breaks down
In Gelephu, the CT scan machine at the recently inaugurated Central Regional Referral Hospital is not functioning, after the air condition diffuser damaged the monitor screen and keyboard.
Medical superintendent Dr Tapas Gurung, said the hospital wrote to the ministry, including the director general, and the contractor to work on who will be responsible to repair it.
He said a private company installed the machine and they asked the company to evaluate and access the cost of the damage.
A radio-technologist, Tshering Pem, said 45 patients availed the service after the machine was installed. “It broke down on August 29.”
Health officials said while inpatients, who need the service, are referred to Bongaigaon in Assam, India, only about seven outpatients are waiting for the service.
Gelephu residents, however, allege that the ceiling fell off, as it was a rushed inauguration. Health officials disagree. “It was an accident,” Dr Tapas Gurung said.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that although the hospital was officially inaugurated with the machine on July 31, it took about two weeks before it was functional.
“Some parts of the machine were installed and they claimed it was inaugurated,” a health official said.
Hospital staff defended that they took time to install the machine software. “People should understand that CT scan has many side effects and they should avail the service only when necessary.”