YK Poudel

At the question hour on November 29, Minister of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS), Dorji Tshering, said that the Local governments (LGs) and the concerned dzongkhags should coordinate and prioritise the farm roads.

This was in response to MP for Khar-Yurung, Tshering Chhoden, who asked about the inclusion of farm roads construction connecting Khengkhar in Mongar to Denchi in Pemagatshel and Kerung in Nganglam to Woongborang in Dungmaed gewog in the 13th Five-Year Plan (FYP).

“Connecting these two farm roads will not only reduce the distance but it will also have immense benefits for the people socially, culturally, and economically,” she said.

The road construction was given priority in the twelfth five-year plan.

Lyonpo said the LGs and the dzongkhag administrations should identify and prioritise impactful programmes and apportion the budget accordingly.

“Dzongkhagz and gewogs must consult with other relevant agencies such as the Department of Roads under MoWHS and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest,” he said.

Lyonpo mentioned that the provisions and discretion in prioritizing viable and impactful programmes and projects will be continued in the next plan.

A similar concern was shared by MP for Sombaykha, Dorjee Wangmo.

“Selela farm road plays an important role and is indispensable for the people of four chiwogs under Samar Gewog and one chiwog under Gakidling. The request has been made to Gross National Happiness Commission for budgetary support,” she said.

Prime Minister Lotay Tshering said that the two benefitting gewogs should resolve the issue bilaterally, including a modality for implementation to execute the activity within FY resources.

“Haa Dzongkhag Administration has executed the construction of a farm road from Selela to Sektena under Gakidling Gewog through the Government of India (GoI), Small Development Program (SDP) in FY 2016-17. The administration, he said, completed the construction of around 10.5km from Lamjigang until Selela in FY 2017-18 and incurred a total expenditure of Nu.12.387 million in the FYs 2016-2018,” he said.

The total length of the road is approximately 35km.

The Royal Audit Authority also issued an audit memo citing non-compliance to the Farm Road Guidelines and stated that the farm road did not benefit the public of Gakidling Gewog since it was not pliable and left incomplete.

Lyonchen said that when the dzongkhag’s engineering sector visited the site and had undertaken the survey, only about 12km stretch could be surveyed.  The rest had to be halted due to land disputes among the community members.

“It has been reported by the dzongkhag administration that there have been no new updates or requests from both the gewogs since the DT was held in August 2022,” he said.