FCBL expects to complete the construction of cold storages by end of August 2021
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Food Corporation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL), Naiten Wangchuk, FCBL is expecting to complete the construction of three cold storages in the country by the end of August 2021.
He said that the construction works are in progress in three dzongkhags; Samteling in Sarpang, Khaling in Trashigang and Rinchengang in Wangdue.
“These cold storages are being built to facilitate trading for domestic market as well as for outside market. Basically, these (cold storages) will facilitate with vegetable production by storing vegetables. And we have decided to construct in these three places since the vegetables production, like potato comes from Wangdue, so it will help in storage, and also looking at the population, we have decided to construct in Khaling and for trading outside, we are building in Sarpang,” he said.
He said that the GoI TSS project under Department of Trade has committed to support with Nu 90 mn for the construction of the storages, however, the design they have submitted initially needs some changes. FCBL has increased the cold storage size, and pre engineered building structure with ready design for assembling are to be used for the construction.
“We had to opt for this since it is hard to get the workforce to build the infrastructure as despite floating tenders, the local contactors didn’t turn up. So we had to go for pre engineered specialization company. The cost came to Nu 127 mn for the construction of these three cold storages. Nu 90 mn will be supported by GoI TSS project under Department of Trade and Nu 37 mn from the government,” he said.
He also said, “Since FCBL is doing the ground preparation, I think it should be kept with FCBL in the future for operating when we complete the construction. Since FCBL is looking after RNR products for the last forty years, so we are the relevant agency to own and operate it, and we also have experience in this field. However, we don’t know the government’s decision, but it will be unfair if it goes to the government though they have supported with the fund, but all the operational work has been done by FCBL.”
The land development and hiring of specialized labourers for building the storages are done. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, works are being delayed, as it is not easy to purchase equipment from outside. FCBL has already given an advance to purchase equipment and the pre engineered structure.
Agriculture and Forests Minister Yeshey Penjor said that despite floating tenders by FCBL, there were no local parties interested to take up the project, and so the ministry requested the Board of FCBL to approve FCBL to take up the project with an international firm that has worked with FCBL for many years.
Lyonpo said that FCBL has requested the ministry to facilitate them with the import of skilled labourers. Therefore, agriculture and forests ministry is following up with the labour and human resources ministry to expedite the labour import process.