Aggrieved villagers say road widening wasn’t necessary

Farm Road: Farm road widening work at Babigakha village in Punakha has left six affected households unhappy and are holding the gewog’s mangmi, Bago Dorji, responsible. They say that the widening work was carried out to purposefully cause problem for them.

“The widening was done to only half kilometre road that passes from near our house,” said Namgay Tshering, 32. “The gewog has not just taken part of our land while doing so but the widening work has also destroyed passageways by digging a huge drainage between the road and our houses.”

Namgay said that the road was constructed eight years ago and that is in good condition and does not require widening. He added that his 13-decimal land is now rendered useless due to road widening. “I was going to construct a house. But now I can’t because rule has it that we keep certain space between road and the house. The least the gewog could have done is inform me before they went on with the project.”

Namgay Zam, 35, said she wrote to the gewog about the issue. “The drain has been made so big that we cannot drive over it.” When the gewog called the affected people to inform them of the plan, widening had already begun.

Bago Dorji said that widening of road was done following the public meeting held in Logodama Primary School where about 400 people from four chiwogs of Talo and Guma gathered and decided to clear the drainage and widen the particular stretch of road.

Permission was sought from the dzongkhag and land record officials called at site for two days to conduct land survey, said Bago Dorji. It was found that as per 2010-2011 land survey records, the widened part of land does not belong to any of the villagers, he added.

Digging of drain and widening was necessary because the drain was filled with muck giving problems during monsoon for vehicles to pass, said Bago Dorji.

Bago Dorji said that villagers could be complaining because the gewog had not cleared the road above where one Dorji had destroyed a portion of the road. He, however, added that Dorji has been asked to clear the road.

Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha

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