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Safety Concerns Mount as Falling Debris Raises Alarms at Construction Sites

โ€ฆ๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’๐’•๐’” ๐’†๐’™๐’‘๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’” ๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’“๐’†๐’‰๐’†๐’๐’”๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’๐’—๐’†๐’“ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‘๐’๐’•๐’†๐’๐’•๐’Š๐’‚๐’ ๐’“๐’Š๐’”๐’Œ ๐’๐’‡ ๐’Š๐’๐’‹๐’–๐’“๐’Š๐’†๐’” ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’‘๐’†๐’“๐’•๐’š ๐’…๐’‚๐’Ž๐’‚๐’ˆ๐’† ๐’Š๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’—๐’Š๐’„๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’•๐’š

Sonam Deki

Residents of Thimphu have voiced growing concerns over the ongoing construction of a building amidst frequent incidents of falling debris. The alarming situation has sparked fears among locals, who worry about the potential for injuries and damage to neighboring structures.

Some residents residing near the construction site have reported incidents of objects falling from the building under construction. These objects range from construction materials to equipment, posing a significant risk to public safety. The lack of effective safety measures in place has further intensified worries among the local community.

Tashi Wangmo, a 44 years old resident, described a recent incident where she narrowly escaped a falling object while walking along the street. “I was just minding my own business when I heard a loud crash. I looked up and saw a wooden plank plummeting towards me. I had to quickly dodge to avoid being hit. It’s truly frightening to think that such incidents are happening regularly,” she stated, visibly shaken.

The absence of safety nets or protective barriers around the construction site or old worn-out safety nets has only exacerbated concerns. Residents argue that these precautions are essential to ensure the safety of pedestrians and neighboring buildings. Many have pointed out that it is the responsibility of the Construction Company and relevant authorities to enforce strict safety protocols.

Dorji Tenzin, a concerned citizen residing near the construction site in Taba, voiced his frustration. “We are not against development or construction projects, but safety should be the top priority. The falling debris not only endangers our lives but also poses a threat to nearby buildings. We urge the authorities to take immediate action and enforce stricter safety measures before a tragic incident occurs.”

The potential damage to neighboring structures has also become a significant point of contention. Residents worry about the structural integrity of their own homes and the potential financial burden that could arise from repairs. The recurring incidents of falling objects have left them anxious and uncertain about the safety of their properties.

Dawa Rinchen, a homeowner living adjacent to the construction site, expressed his concern. “I have noticed cracks appearing on the walls of my house, and it’s clear that the construction work is taking a toll. If this continues, it could lead to severe damage and financial implications for us homeowners. We request the relevant authorities to investigate the matter and take appropriate action.”

35 years old Rinzin, a resident of Hong Kong Market, expressed his concerns, stating, “I reside on the ground floor, and there is an ongoing construction project next to our building. Due to objects falling from the construction site, my window glass was once shattered, and they took the initiative to replace it. However, on a second occasion, my window was cracked by falling debris. And they failed to provide any indication or acknowledgment of the incident. This situation has instilled fear in me as I have to walk through that path and there is a looming risk of objects falling and potentially causing harm to pedestrians.”

Tashi Phuntsho, the Chief of Compliance and Enforcement Division (CoED) of Thimphu Thromde said, โ€œThe contractor/building owner through construction approval is instructed to first set up the precautionary measures for safety of the people nearby and the adjacent public/private properties. They are required to erect safety nets in particular to avoid falling of materials from construction sites and to refrain from any kind of pollution. The building inspectors are making rounds monitoring the compliance to the approvals from Thromde.โ€

โ€œDevelopment Control Regulation and Bhutan Building Rules reflect on the duty of the building owner in ensuring safety at the construction site. The designated building inspectors of the zone tries to monitor the construction sites as much as they can if not for the other services they need to give from office and issues of resource constraints. While on site they ensure that the constructions are carried out with full safetyโ€, he added.

He further said, โ€œComplaints ranges from noises, overtime working and risks to their property during excavations. There were few cases that have come complaining regarding damages to windows and building parts. The engineers and building inspectors visit the sites for verification. We advise/notify the defaulters on immediate set up of nets and any other measures required at the site to avoid complaints from neighbors.โ€

The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) emphasized that while they do not directly handle construction safety matters, they actively intervene if any criminal activities arise during the construction process. In a statement, a representative from the RBP stated, “The primary responsibility for construction safety lies with the relevant authorities; however, should there be any instances of criminal behavior detected during construction, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action.”

The citizens of Thimphu anxiously await a swift resolution to these safety concerns, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing public safety in all construction projects across the city.

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