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Most SDP projects complete, rest on schedule

More than 75 percent of the 595 Small Development Projects (SDP) in the 11th Plan has been completed.

Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) presented this report at the 7th SDP Committee meeting between Bhutan and India in Thimphu yesterday.

Of the total SDP approved in five batches, 450 projects were completed as of yesterday.

All projects in the first and second batches, 44 and 254, were completed. Of the 184 projects approved in the third batch, 120 have been completed; 30 and two are complete from 104 and nine projects in the later two batches.

GNHC’s senior programme officer, Passang Dorji, said all the projects would be completed before the end of June next year. The projects include 225 farm roads measuring 1,025km, black-topping 76 gewog connectivity roads, 37 irrigation channels measuring 135.3km, and 22 bridges, a mix of suspension and Bailey bridges.

Other major projects are 15 community halls, seven gewog offices, 22 rural water supply schemes, seven basic health units, 12 schools, and seven sports infrastructure.

Wangdue with 49 projects, Trashigang 48, Samtse 45, Mongar 44, and Dagana 38 are in the top five with the most number of projects. Bumthang with 14 projects, Trongsa 15, Gasa 17, and Zhemgang 18 projects are in the bottom of the list with the least number of projects.

The Indian Government was represented by Deputy Chief of Mission of Indian Embassy in Thimphu, Esha Srivastava, while Director General of Bilateral Affairs, Kezang Wangdi, led the Bhutanese delegation.

The Indian team commended the government for the excellent progress in the implementation of the projects. The Bhutanese delegation thanked the Indian government for the timely release of funds for the projects.

“We look forward to inaugurating more projects during the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic mission between India and Bhutan next year,” Esha Srivastava said. “We’re happy that there’ll be no spillover works.”

Both the delegations acknowledged the importance to deliver the projects with quality.

Director of GNHC, Rinchen Wangdi, said that the Bhutanese side has learnt from past mistakes and improved on the 11th Plan. The commission has strengthened the monitoring of the project implementation with the recruitment of monitoring officers in the dzongkhags.

“I’ve just returned from a monitoring visit in Pemagatshel and the works are progressing well,” he said.

GNHC’s focal person, Passang Dorji, said the projects have enhanced disaster preparedness, rural economy, and improved productivity through irrigation schemes, health and livelihood, and public service delivery.

Kesang Wangdi also thanked the Indian Government for the warm welcome extended to His Majesty The King, Her Majesty The Queen, and His Royal Highness The Gyalsey on their recent visit to India.

Of the Nu 8.5 billion for the SDP, the Government of India has released a little more than Nu 8 billion or more than 94.14 percent of the approved budget of the projects.

In the 11th Plan, the Government of India committed Nu 45B as development assistance to Bhutan. It has committed Nu 28B for Project Tied Assistance, and Nu 8.5B for Programme Grant.

Tshering Palden

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