Phurpa Lhamo & Chimi Dema 

Dagana and Wangdue dzongkhag officials signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on January 26 to construct a new road between the two dzongkhags.

Construction works would begin next week, as most paperwork and road survey was completed last year.

The 20.29km stretch between Wogayna village in Wangdue’s Daga gewog and Lhaptsakarchu village of Tseza gewog in Dagana would reduce travel time and distance between the two dzongkhags.

Tseza gup Phurba, said the road, once constructed, would reduce 80km distance and travel time by almost four hours.

Today, the distance from Daga dzong to Kamichu in Wangdue is about 130km via Sunkosh. The total distance from Daga dzong to Wangdue is about 168km.

The new travel distance between Daga Dzong and Kamichhu is 69km, according to survey reading.

Works and human settlement ministry had awarded Nu 36 million (M) to Wangdue dzongkhag to execute the work as the area falls under the Wangdue dzongkhag jurisdiction.

However, the dzongkhags divided the work, as commuters from Dagana would benefit immensely.

Wangdue dzongdag, Sonam Jamtsho, said Wangdue dzongkhag would execute works on 8.29km from Wogayna to Kamina of Daga gewog. Dagana dzongkhag will execute works on 12km from Laptsakarchu to Wogayna village worth 21.291M.

The new road connection will also benefit the five households in Kamina village in Wangdue. In the past, the village had not been eligible for a road connection due to the less number of households. Kamina village has five households.

The new 20.29km stretch is identified as a secondary national highway and the road width would be 8.5 meters. However, there are no immediate plans for blacktopping today.

Wangdue dzongkhag officials say although the project duration is two years, it will be completed in a year. All works will be executed departmentally, due to budget constraints.

Dagana dzongkhag’s planning officer, Sonam Jamtsho, said the completion of the road would benefit residents of three gewogs of Tseza, Khebisa and Kana.

He said the dzongkhag administration in collaboration with Tseza gewog administration completed 20km farm road from Peling chiwog to Laptsakarchu in 2019.

Sonam Jamtsho, however, said that the road improvement and realignment have to be done to make the road accessible for all vehicles. Currently, only four-wheel drive can ply through the farm road.

Khebisa Gup Namgay said that besides reducing the travel distance and time, the road could also bring socio-economic development in his gewog.

He said that not many people in his gewog focus on commercial vegetable farming today as the market is far.

“Given the long distance and expensive travel fare, it is difficult for farmers to recover the cost of production,” he said. “A taxi costs at least Nu 6,000 to travel to Thimphu.”

He said that with completion of the road, people would be able to reach Thimphu and Wangdue in half the time. “This will enable easy market access to them.”