Tshering Namgyal | Lhuentse

Travellers between Lhuentse and Mongar dread the notorious Rodpazhong area. The landslide prone area had been a nightmare for travellers every monsoon for decades.

To address this perennial issue, the 84th session of the National Assembly then resolved to construct a bypass from Autsho-Gorbaktang via Tsakaling in Mongar in 2005 following the request of the people of Lhuentse.

The Asian Development Bank conducted a feasibility study and started the construction of an approximately 51km highway in 2009 with its own funding. The highway-standard road was constructed from both Mongar and Lhuentse side. From Mongar, around 12km was constructed until Chali top, while from Autsho, a 15km with base course was cleared till Gumbrang village, the border of Tsaenkhar gewog in Lhuentse and Tsakaling gewog of Mongar. There are 16 households in this village of which seven are from Tsakaling and nine from Tsaenkhar.

But the construction of the ambitious highway was brought to a halt since a decade ago for reasons not known to local residents including officials from Lingmethang regional DOR office.

Although the incomplete road has benefitted a huge number of households of Konbar, Takchu in Mongar gewog and villages in upper Chali and parts of Tsaenkhar gewog, the desired objective is yet to be achieved.

However, a 2.8km farm road connecting Takhambi village and Gumbrang and an ongoing Takhambi-Jakechhu road to connect Tsakaling gewog centre is likely to ease the connection. The construction began in February and around 2km of the six km has already been completed. The gewog hopes to complete the remaining 4km in five to six months.

The Tsakaling gup, Karma Sonam Wangchuk, who is also the Mongar dzongkhag tshogdu chairman said the road will not only benefit 60 households of Takhambi village who often miss gewog meetings because of the distance, but also serve as a bypass for Rodpazhong from Doleptang (the take off point for Takhambi) near Autsho to Horong (the take off point of Tsakaling GC road).

He said the road is a highway-standard road with a width of 6-7m through the rocky terrain of more than 4km at an estimated cost of Nu 28 million. The work is awarded on a hiring system with the block grant of Nu 4.5M, while the GNHC has committed a supplementary budget of Nu 24 million. “Although the gewog budget is exhausted, we are continuing with the work and if the running bill is claimed we have no more budget,” He said.

He added that SDP has also approved Nu 23 million to carry out the base course of the 8-km Jakechhu to GC road, which is scheduled to start soon. The gewog is also planning to widen the 2.8km Takhambi-Gumbrang farm road in future.

“Our intention is to make it a bypass in case if Rodpashong gives a problem, and with this only around 10km between Tsakaling-Chali top will be left even if it’s to be connected to Gorbaktang directly,” Karma Sonam Wangchuk said.

Tsaenkhar gup Tsheten Wangdi said the bypass, if completed, will not only benefit the people of Gumbrang and the nearby villages to get access to Mongar easily but help others to avoid inconveniences of Rodpashong.