Connectivity: Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay instructed the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (MHPA) the dzongkhag, the Department of Roads and the contractor, Bhutan Engineering to clear the Dzongkhalum roadblock by September 22.

Dzongkhalum is some 10km from Trongsa towards Zhemgang and has been blocked for two months.

The second election coordination meeting for the second phase of second local government (LG) elections in the dzongkhag had decided to have the road cleared by September 20.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay, who visited the site on September 10, said authorities could not take any risks by allowing vehicles through MHPA’s head-race tunnel, which is doubling as a bypass currently.

Lyonchoen stressed that clearing the Dzongkhalum roadblock is crucial and it must be achieved at the earliest. “I am worried about the tunnel,” he said.

He also instructed the Trongsa dzongdag to update him on the progress of the work everyday with photographs. “The dzongdag should email me photographs of the work site whether there is progress or not, so that I can keep track,” he said.

Lyonchoen said that while September 22 is the deadline, it can be cleared even earlier if the weather is favourable.

Lyonchoen reminded those working on the site that progress should be maintained daily, and that not only when he is visiting the site.

Finance minister, Namgay Dorji, who is accompanying Lyonchoen, said authorities involved should hold a meeting and divide roles and responsibilities as to how to expedite the work. He also instructed the authorities to hold the meeting soon.

He also said he has requested MHPA to provide bus services from Langthel and Drakteng gewogs to Trongsa. MHPA has agreed and the bus services will start soon.

Lyonpo Namgay Dorji said people will have to pay a minimal fee for the service. The buses are expected to help people move around until September 22.

The Trongsa-Zhemgang highway was blocked at Dzongkhalum on July 5 following a landslide. Falling boulders destroyed the bridge at Dzongkhalum on July 24.

Nima Wangdi | Dzongkhalum