The PM’s visit to gewogs of Sarpang has got the attention of the government to build a bridge over the river 

DoR: Gelephu residents’ long wait for a bridge over Taklai river may be soon coming to an end.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay recently visited Taraythang, Umling and Chuzergang gewogs, where he and his team had to hitch a ride in a Royal Bhutan Army’s jumbo truck to cross the swollen river.

Following his visit, Lyonchoen posted on his Facebook page thanking the RBA for being able to cross Taklaichu to get to the three gewogs.

The residents, however, can’t call the army every time it rains and swells the river, he said.

“What they need is a bridge along with the new black-topped roads that will be built this year,” lyonchoen wrote. “Engineers will survey the area and submit a report, with options and estimates, to build a bridge over Taklaichu.”

In absence of a bridge, two gewogs, particularly Taraythang and Umling remain cut off during monsoon from the rest of the gewogs.

Umling gup, Ugyen Norbu said, without a bridge and transportation, developmental activates are severely hampered.

The two gewogs produce ginger, vegetables and varieties of fruits but farmers cannot reach it to the market due to the swollen river.

“Villagers own vehicles but have to park it on the other side of the river,” gup Ugyen Norbu said. “It is severely affecting the development and progress of the two gewogs.”

Over 5,000 people live in the two gewogs. Umling is about 32 km from Gelephu and while another nine km farm road connects to Taraythang gewog.  But blacktopping of the farm road until the gewog centre would not be possible without a bridge.

Gup Ugyen Norbu said blacktopping should complete within two years.

However, Department of Road’s chief engineer in Gelephu, Sherab Phuntsho said a preliminary survey was carried out for construction of a baily bridge over Taklai river in 2013.  What happened to that survey afterwards is not known but it was estimated that at least a bridge of 210 feet long was required.

“We’re not certain when the detailed survey will be carried out for construction of the bridge. We can just wait for direction from the department headquarter,” he said.

Meanwhile, it was an absence of a bridge over Taklai river that caused confusion among local leaders while discussions were on to shift Gelephu dungkhag administration.

Although it’s decided now, a majority of local leaders from gewogs in Gelephu dungkhag – Umling, Serzhong, Taraythang, Jigmecholing, Chuzagang, Samtenling and Gelephu- are not satisfied with the decision to relocate the dungkhag administration to Umling. The fifth dzongkhag tshogdu had decided on the relocation last year.

Chuzagang gup Sangay Tshering had said if infrastructure such as a bridge over the Taklai river is not in place, it would be inconvenient for the people of Chuzagang to avail the dungkhag’s services.

Nirmala Pokhrel