Chimi Dema | Dagana

Gyatshay, 69, from Peling in Tseza, Dagana, never expected a road would connect his village and Daga gewog in Wangdue directly.

As a chimi (people’s representative) and a village tshogpa from 1991 until early 2000, he had raised the need for road at numerous meetings. “It seemed impossible then,” he said.

He said the construction of 20.29km road to connect Wogayna village in Wangdue’s Daga gewog to Lhaptsakarchu in Tseza gewog is a dream come true for many people in the community

The new road will be constructed along the ancient trade route from Dagana to Wangdue.

According to Gyatshay, in the past, people walked through Genekha-Dagana route in summer to trade goods and Dagana and Wangdue route via Bumla in winter.

He said he first walked through the ancient route when he was 12 years old, accompanying important officials.

It is a three-and-a-half day trek and the first halt is at Kamina, where the new bypass begins from the Wangdue end.

Another resident, Thuji Om, 62m said that she had waited long for the new road.

“I’m excited as it’s almost there now,” she said. “Once the road is through, there’s no limit to opportunities to improve our lives. I wish I was younger.”

Thuji Om also said that, after the road was completed, they would reach Wangdue with the same distance and time they take to reach Sunkosh at the moment.

Today, the distance from Daga Dzong to Wangdue is about 168km via the Sunkosh.  The new travel distance between Daga Dzong and Kamichu is 69km.

The former Tseza gup, Jaku, said the gewog administration had attempted to construct a farm road between Peling village and Kamina in Wangdue since the fiscal year 2014-15. “However, it failed as there were only a few beneficiaries along the entire stretch.”

In 2019, however, the dzongkhag administration in collaboration with Tseza gewog administration constructed a 20km farm road from Peling chiwog to Laptsakarchu.  Lapstakarchu is on the border between Dagana and Wangdue.

Road improvement and realignment will be done to make it accessible for all vehicles.  Currently, only four-wheel drive can ply the farm road.

Jaku said that, without an accessible road in the past, a few residents had abandoned their village to look for better opportunities and give a proper education to children. “Some of them are planning to return once the road construction is complete.”

Besides benefiting commuters, the road would also bring proper road connection to more than 40 households in the gewog.

A villager, Karma Dawa, said that he sees plenty of prospects for the commercial vegetable and other farming with the new road arriving soon.

“Our land is fertile but a major portion of it’s left fallow today, as the market is far,” he said. “I’m happy our children will get an opportunity to engage in commercial farming and live better lives than us in the future.”

While the construction of the road from the Wangdue end began on February 20, construction from Dagana commenced on March 16.

Dagana dzongkhag will execute work on the 12km from Laptsakarchu to Wogayna village worth Nu 21.291M.  Wangdue dzongkhag will execute work on the 8.29km from Wogayna to Kamina of Daga gewog.  The road will be 8.5m wide.

Works and human settlement ministry awarded Nu 36M to Wangdue dzongkhag to execute the work.  Both dzongkhags will execute the work departmentally, which is expected to save budget.

Drukjyegang-Tseza member of Parliament, Jurmi Wangchuk, said that road connectivity between the dzongkhags was expected to boost local economy.

He also said that the road would be handed over to the MoWHS after completion and maintenance and widening would be taken care of by the ministry. “Our target is to complete the road by this time, next year.”