Roads: Villagers of Nganglam are disappointed that the Choekhorling and Decheling gewog connectivity (GC) roads are yet to be blacktopped despite the deadlines being last year.

The deadline to complete blacktopping the 16.5km Decheling and 9km Choekhorling gewog connectivity roads were July and November respectively last year.

Despite the deadlines being missed, villagers expressed disappointment that neither the Department of Roads nor the gewog administration informed them on why the work is delayed.

Villagers said that despite the monsoon nearing, no work has begun. The conditions of both the GC roads worsen during the monsoon with potholes forming and landslides occurring.

“When the work first began they kept making excuses that it was not feasible to blacktop the roads because of the  monsoon,” farmer Jamyang, 45, said. “Now we don’t even know what’s the status of the blacktopping. Whether it is because of budget constraints or if it because of the contractor.”

Choekhorling gup, Tshiltrum Dorji, said that they have not received any information on why the blacktopping has been delayed despite writing several times to the Department of Roads last summer. The GC roads falls under the department’s jurisdiction.

Since the Choekhorling GC road passes through the Nganglam-Dewathang highway, which is currently deferred for now, only 9km of the 24km stretch from Lungkhangma will be blacktopped.

“The remaining portion of the road that will not be blacktopped has also worsened and we’ve been requesting for regular maintenance,” the gup said.

Decehling gup, Sonam Rinchen, also said there was no information from the Department of Roads but the contractor had informed him that all materials are ready and the blacktopping will begin soon.

The Samdrupjongkhar regional road office’s chief engineer, Jigme Choidup, said budget is still available for both the GC roads and that blacktopping had been deferred because of the monsoon.

A total of Nu 39 million has been allocated for the Decheling GC road and Nu 27.6 million for Choekhorling gewog. Blacktopping is now expected to be completed by the end of this month.

He said owing to the monsoon the contractor was asked to defer blacktopping to avoid the surface from being damaged by water. However, other work like road widening and construction of drains were completed, he added.

“Since there was no complaints, maybe that’s why the gewog office and people were unaware that it was deferred,” he said. “But there are no problems with the contractor or contract period, we’re hopeful the work will be competed by February.”

The chief engineer added that even if the February deadline is not met, blacktopping will still be completed before the onset of the monsoon.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Nganglam