Kelzang Wangchuk | Serthi

Villagers of Lauri and Serthi gewogs in Jomotshangkha, Samdrupjongkhar around this time of the year remain isolated as the Akhuri river swells making travel impossible.

The residents need not face this problem hereafter. Serthi gewog administration is constructing a reinforced cement concrete (RCC) culvert bridge across the river.

A resident from Lauri, Sonam Thinley said without a bridge over the Akhuri river that separates the two gewogs from the drungkhag, residents in the gewogs cannot avail of essential facilities such as health and fuel as the vehicles cannot cross the swelling river in summer.

He said that they have to spend about a week when there is continuous rain. “The swelling Akhuri river washed away my bolero about five years ago but I escaped.”

Nidup Dorji from Lauri said the river is a menace in summer because it swells unpredictably even when there is no rain. “It is more challenging during emergency.”

He said they cannot take patients to the drungkhag hospital during emergencies because of the swollen river. “There is no point in building a road without a bridge.”

However, residents said it is good news that the Serthi gewog administration is constructing the RCC culvert bridge. “We will no longer have to face the challenges in monsoon.”

Jomotshangkhag Drungpa, Lamdra Wangdi, said that the two gewogs remain cut off from the drungkhag most of the time in summer.

He said the drungkhag awarded the construction of the RCC culvert to a contractor through gewog budget and started the work in January this year. “It’s being constructed as per the Department of Road’s plan.”

He said that the Nu 2.3 million project was supposed to be completed in April but the pandemic delayed it. “The contractor should complete the work this month.”