Phub Dem | Paro

A three-kilometre farm road from Olathang to Drangjagoenpa, overlooking the scenic Paro town is in dire need of maintenance. 

The stretch starts with a steep rocky slope riddled with potholes. The turnings are sharp, and it becomes challenging to travel, especially during monsoon.

Locals link fewer residents and low rental income to poor road conditions.

A landlord, Tshering Yangzom, said that many wanted to rent her house but the poor road conditions deterred them. She said that none rented her house until recently, which was built a year ago. 

Considering the bad road, she had to reduce the rent from Nu 5,000 to Nu 3,000. Otherwise, she said that her house would remain empty. “I have difficulty in repaying the loan I took to build the house.” 

Although it is a short stretch of road, it is essential for residents, a primary school and Tsherim’s abode Drangjagoenpa Lhakhang. Drangjagoenpa village has 37 households. 

Damchoe Dorji, a teacher staying on rent, said that it has been three years since he came to Drangjagoenpa, but the road remained the same. 

He said taxi drivers charge exorbitant fare. “The potholes and steep slopes damage the light vehicles as well.” 

According to Tshering Dorji, many private vehicles use the road daily, and the rocky slope was risky to the travellers. For instance, he said that three vehicles flipped over, after they could not climb the road on the hillside. 

He said that even the school bus doesn’t ply the road as it was risky, although the school is below the road. “Students walk to school from the garage below.” 

Had it not been for the pandemic, Lungyni Gup Jamtsho said that the road would be already blacktopped.

He said that the gewog sent the estimate to blacktop the road to the finance ministry through the dzongkhag. 

He said that it was an eyesore for many visitors who visit Tsherigma Lhakhang. 

In the past, the locals traveled through the Hotel Olathang compound. As it was inconvenient, the 3-km road was constructed. As compensation, the hotel gave Nu 300,000 to the community to maintain the road.   

The locals want to use that money to maintain the road. This, according to gup, was not advisable as the road would be blacktopped.

Besides, he said that the amount was inadequate to maintain even a few metres of the road. “We can invest Nu 300,000 in the ground widening project at the Lhakhang or other community project.”

Edited by Tshering Palden