The flood in Pelrithang Khamaed of Gelephu Gewog which occurred last year was observed to have been caused due to dredging activities along Shetikhari stream. The gewog administration and the relevant agencies conducted a joint site visit following complaints from the residents alleging dredging works to have caused the flood. The officials observed that dredging works were not carried out according to the terms and conditions. Last year, the swollen stream flooded the village, destroying the belongings of the residents.
The Gelephu Gewog Administration along with the officials from the Department of Geology and Mines and the Department of Forest and Park Services visited the surface collection site after receiving complaints from the residents.
They observed that the private company carrying out the dredging works crossed the demarcated area.
It was also found out that the company did not follow the standard procedure of surface collection and dredging works.
The officials also observed that huge stocks were kept in the middle of the river bed which they think will trigger diversion of river during monsoon.
The team also observed that the mitigation works are not implemented along the dredging sites. That includes the two-kilometre gabion wall which is still not constructed as per the order from the Department of Forest and Park Services in Gelephu.
The company has been allotted surface collection and the dredging works on lease in 2022.
“Last time, a team comprising DGM, forest and gewog officials carried out an inspection. The team found that the works were not carried out as per the terms and conditions. We have given a notice to the private firm till the 10th of this month. If he fails to complete the works then we will withhold the permits including the boulders export business,” said Prem Prasad Katel, the Gelephu Gup.
However, the proprietor of the private company said he carried out the dredging as per the terms and conditions.
He also said the dredging work is ongoing and all the works including the mitigation will be completed before monsoon starts.
Moreover, he said floods are unpredictable during rainy season, filling up the stream with debris within no time which diverts the course of the stream.
The allocated site of over 22 acres is leased out till August, next year.
Edited by Tshering Zam