Chimi Dema | Wangdue

The Department of Roads would maintain the Bajo-Khurthang road soon, as the works and human settlement ministry is in the process of tendering the work.

Officials say the tendering work would complete the process within a month and the project would be carried out in two packages.

“We would begin one package from Khuruthang and another from Bajo to complete work in time,” an official said. “The road would be widened and blacktopped.”

It was learnt that the issue was raised several times during the dzongkhag tshogdu of Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang.

A Thedtsho gewog representative, Chencho said the decision to maintain the road was prolonged, as it had to involve landlords who own land along the roadside. “As road widening work would encroach their land, concerned agencies had to get consent from landlords.”

Another constraint, he said was a lack of budget.

The road falls in a secondary national highway category and government of India would fund Nu 172 million for the cost of maintenance under  current plan projects.

The 9kms stretch of the road connects the two districts of Punakha and Wangdue and it was initially constructed as feeder road. A decade ago, the road was blacktopped.

However, in recent years, road quality deteriorated, as bitumens peeled off and it was filled with potholes.

The road is narrow and also prone to accident.

A motorist, Sangay Dorji, said if the highway is restored and widened, it could reduce accidents.

Taxi drivers said that restoring the road could help them cut down expenses, which are spent to maintain their vehicles.“It would be convenient for both drivers and travellers if the road is maintained,” a taxi driver, Sonam Gyeltshen, said.