December 16, Thimphu: The Minutes of Discussion on the preparatory survey for the project for improvement of machinery and equipment for construction of rural agricultural road (Phase 3) between the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) was signed today in presence of the Hon’ble Agriculture Minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji.
The purpose of this mission is to discuss with the concerned officials of the Government of Bhutan on the Draft Preparatory Survey Report for preparing draft outline design for Japanese Grant aid Project. This mission is a follow up to the earlier mission in August and September 2015. The team had held series of discussions with the RGoB concerned official.
Based on the discussions and field survey conducted in last August and September in Bhutan and the subsequent technical examination of the results in Japan, the JICA prepared a Draft Preparatory Survey Report on the above mentioned project. Accordingly, the JICA has sent a mission comprising of same Preparatory Survey Team led by Dr. Makoto Inaba, JICA Senior Advisor basically to explain the draft report and to consult with the concerned officials of the Royal Government of Bhutan on its contents. After the explanation and discussion of the Draft report the Bhutanese side agreed in principle to its contents which includes provisional project cost estimates, Japanese Grant Scheme, Project Implementation Schedule, Expected outcomes and indicators etc. Thus, the JICA officials and the survey team had defined the scope of assistance which included 30 excavators, 20 backhoe machines and two trailers and other accessories.
The Ministry of Agriculture & Forests has been mandated to construct approximately 2500 km of new farm roads under the 11th FYP. The ministry plans to construct approximately 1300 km of new roads using equipments owned by the Central Machinery Unit in Bumthang. However, due to shortage of machineries the CMU would be able to construct only about 843 km or so of the planned roads with no prospect of completing the remaining 457 km to meet the target of the 11th FYP. Under these circumstances, the Government of Bhutan has requested the Government of Japan for the third phase of the Project for Improvement of Machinery and Equipment for the Construction of Rural Agricultural Road for procurement of additional equipment and thereby reinforcing the institutional system and capacity for achieving the development target in order to respond to the needs of the rural populace. In response to the request from the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) during the ninth bilateral annual consultation between Japan and Bhutan in 2014, the Government of Japan (GoJ) had entrusted the preparatory survey to JICA which was headed by Dr. Makoto Inaba, JICA senior advisor.
The Phase I and Phase II assistance provided by JICA had significantly contributed to the rural income generation and livelihoods by opening up to the markets and services. It has also helped in the farm road construction capacity building. In the earlier two Phases the Ministry has received in total 35 excavators, 5 bull dozers, 5 dump trucks, 10 nos. of vibration rollers, 2 trailers and 2 truck cranes. With the above machineries from two phases the Ministry has constructed 1555 km of farm roads. The continued support in the form of third phase will help achieve the targets of the 11th FYP maintenance and construction of farm roads.
The Central Machinery Unit (CMU), Bumthang will be responsible for overall construction of 1300 km farm roads under 11th FYP. CMU has currently 40 units of hydraullic Excavators, 5 units of each Bulldozer, Dump Trucks, Vibration Rollers, Air compressors and 10 units of Wheel Loaders and other supporting machineries.
-Submitted by Engineering Division, DoA
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