It took an excavator almost eight hours to clear the block at Burichu – Sergithang bypass road in Tsirang yesterday.

The road had remained blocked for almost 15 days. Falling boulders, muck and debris had covered at least 50ms of the road.

Tshogpa of Noorbugang chiwog, Nar Bahadur Rai, said before the excavator was deployed, a group of 12 volunteers from the gewog dug and cleared the road so that light vehicles could pass through.

He said that was done because the block affected villagers doing business (vendors) on the Wangdue-Tsirang highway. “The block was massive, making it difficult even for people to cross.”

The nine-kilometre bypass is an important connection for people of four gewogs Sergithang, Tsirangtoed, Semjong and Phungtenchu. It cuts travel distance by more than two hours. However, it is not yet blacktopped.

The tshogpa said it takes at least an hour to reach Damphu from Burichu while travelling from Wangdue and Thimphu and another hour and a half towards Sergithang and Tsirangtoed. “But through this bypass road, it is just half an hour drive to Sergithang and an hour to Tsirangtoed. We could not clear it early because of the unavailability of an excavator.”

It has been two years since the bypass was constructed.

A Burichu resident, Tashi Dukpa, 83, said the road also remained blocked for several days during the last monsoon.

He said he requested local leaders to clear the block at the earliest. “We can’t afford to have this road blocked.”

Tashi Dukpa also said that although volunteers in the locality tried to clear the road, they could not move huge boulders.

A private excavator deployed yesterday to clear the block was hired at Nu 2,300 per hour.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang