Connectivity: Construction of a bridge over the infamous river Yudiri in Phongmey, Trashigang could finally begin in another one-year, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said during his visit to the gewog yesterday.

Yudiri has remained a menace to the people of Phongmey for a long time. Every summer, the river swells and disconnects the gewog from the rest of Trashigang.

After the erstwhile bridge over the Yudiri was washed away by a major flash-flood in 2004, construction of a new bridge couldn’t be carried out because of unstable landscape on one side of the river.

Despite three different sites being identified for the bridge construction in the past, none of the sites were found to be feasible. Should a bridge come up, villagers insist it should be constructed where the previous one existed.

“We have managed to procure a budget of Nu 41M to construct the bridge. However, an extensive study needs to be carried out before we proceed,” Lyonchoen said.

Works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden said that it is usually the small stream running parallel to the Yudiri that swells up in summer and causes floods.

“Immediately taking up the construction would only be a waste of resources since the bridge could be washed again during summer. So, more studies have to be taken up that would take about a year,” she said.

During the visit, villagers also asked Lyonchoen if the government could construct a bridge over river Gamri to connect the three chiwogs of Thongrong, Yabrang and Phimshong to the gewog centre.

Currently, people use an old suspension bridge to cross the river. Vehicles have to be routed through Bidung, drop down to Rangjung and then climb all the way up to Phongmey.

A villager said that it takes hours for people of the three villages on the other side of Gamri to reach the gewog centre for works related to livestock, agriculture or administration.

Lyonchoen said that the government would look into the possibility should there be leftover funds from the 11th five-year plan budget.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said although a bridge is crucial for the gewog, people also need to understand that there are villages without even a suspension bridge and that the government has to give priority to such places.

Tshering Wangdi,  Trashigang