Chhimi Dema 

Commuters and villagers living along the Chuzom-Haa highway say that the road-widening works are taking longer and causing problems.

They are concerned that as the monsoon approaches it would be risky to ply on the road and further delay the widening works.

The government of India sanctioned the widening of the Chuzom-Haa highway on February 2016, and it was to be completed by June 2018.

A farmer from Eusu gewog in Haa said that he feels the road-widening works are dragging on. “It is difficult to travel by the highway–it is risky for people and damages the undercarriage of the car,” the farmer said.

Some commuters worry that the poor condition of the road could lead to accidents with loose boulders falling on the road from the cliffs.

Currently, Project DANTAK completed blacktopping of 19.1km of the highway. On other stretches of the highway, Project DANTAK is carrying out road-surfacing, and constructing bridges.

DANTAK planned to execute 50.9km of the Chuzom-Haa road in three stretches with minimum disruption to the environment.

A resident of Haa, Phub Thinley, said that if the road-widening works completed soon then it would be convenient for travellers.

“The Chelela road is too narrow for a heavy traffic. The Chuzom-Haa highway would help ease the traffic and reduce travel time for commuters,” Phub Thinley said.

The highway passes through some villages of Naja and Dogar gewogs in Paro, and Samar gewog of Haa.

According to Project DANTAK, the road-widening works for 50.9km from Chuzom started on November 26, 2018; and administrative approvals for two road stretches were issued in November 2019, and July 2020.

“Though the project was conceptualised earlier, the first sanction was issued in November 2018 and the original PCDs [planning, design, and construction] of all three stretches were fixed as March 31, 2022,” according to officials from DANTAK.

Project DANTAK for faster progress before the monsoon has decided to work on “first of its kind, double lane Class-70 steel modular bridges” near Tshapey and Kana villages.

Both the bridges will be completed by June 2023.