English | Dzongkha Sunday, October 17, 2021

Road workers not paid for the last two months, Zhemgang

Apr 11, 2021

Doing hard labour along the road is not only tiresome but also discouraging when you have to work without pay for months. Around 12 workers from the National Workforce have been working along the Nangkor Gewog Centre (GC) road in Zhemgang without payment since February.

They are having a difficult time making ends meet.

“Without money, shopkeepers do not give us any credit now. They are asking to clear the earlier debts. We solely depend on these shopkeepers to buy the daily essentials like rice, oil and sugar,” said Chandra Maya, a worker from the National Workforce.

“It is a huge problem because we need to send children to school and stock daily essentials too. Now it has been two months working without wages. Debt with the shopkeepers is increasing and there is nothing we can do,” added Dil Kumar Mongar.

Not being able to clear the debts, even shopkeepers stopped selling food on credit to them now.

“Each labourer out here has the credit of Nu 7,000 to 15,000. They mostly buy rice, oil, salt, sugar and milk powder,” said Jigme Lhendup, a shopkeeper at Tali in Zhemgang.

The labourers were told that there was a shortage of budget as the budget for labourers’ wages was not included while handing over the road and labourers to the dzongkhag.

“We have two engineers, one is chief and the other one is a junior engineer looking after the works. We have been informing them about our overdue wages and that we are facing difficulty clearing debts to shopkeepers. We are told there is a budget shortage,” said RB Chettri, a roadside worker at Tali labour camp.

According to the Chief Engineer of Zhemgang Dzongkhag, the dzongkhag engineering cell cannot do anything about the issue as works for the GC road was handed over to the Nangkor Gewog Administration. The Gewog Administration is supposed to pay the labourers from the maintenance budget.

However, BBS learnt that the issue will be resolved soon. The Gewog Administration and the Zhemgang Dzongkhag re-appropriated the fund till June and agreed to pay the overdue wages of the 12 labourers at the earliest. The workers maintain two kilometres of the GC road every day and earn Nu 215 each day.

Pema Samdrup, Zhemgang

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