Choki Wangmo | Dagana

The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Lyonpo Dorji Tshering, inaugurated the 69km Peling-Kamichhu bypass road yesterday.

The 21-km bypass construction that connects Laptsakarchu in Tseza (12km), Dagana and Wogayna village in Dakar (8.29km), Wangdue was jointly carried out by Dagana and Wangdue dzongkhags.

This means that Dagaps from Tseza, Khebisa, and Kana gewogs can now travel via this bypass and reach Kamichu in Wangdue without having to travel through Dagana-Sunkosh road.

Today, the distance from Daga Dzong to Kamichu in Wangdue is about 130km via Sunkosh. It is a reduction in travel time of two hours (63km) for the residents in these gewogs.

The new bypass brings in new hope for the residents. Once the blacktopping and GSB works are complete, they say that the future prospects in the area are expected to improve with better economic activities. Currently, the road is only usable for 4WD vehicles.

According to Peling Chiwog residents, outsiders have already started purchasing land in the chiwog. “This indicates that our land, which had been abandoned, would be revived,” said a resident, Gyeltshen.

“Without road connectivity, I left the village seeking better opportunities in towns at 36. Many left too,” said the 71-year-old. Out of about 30 households in the chiwog, only 13 are occupied today.

He said that with the provision of such basic infrastructure, people would be drawn back to their villages. The area, he said, is feasible for the cultivation of any type of crop.

“We don’t leave because we don’t like our villages. We had to leave due to the challenges of making a living,” another Peling resident said.

The road will also benefit people in Kamina, one of the remotest villages in Daga gewog, Wangdue.

An official from Wangdue dzongkhag administration said that the administration was worried that without a road connection, three households in Kamina could be moved to other places.

Tseza Gup Samten Jamtsho said that bypass would help farmers market their produce easily. “The gewog has commercial vegetable producers but face difficulties due to lack of access to the market.”

“Tzesa Gewog has several pilgrimage sites and most of the traditional houses are preserved. If the road condition is better, this would help boost domestic tourism,” he added.

Lyonpo said that he would look into the upgradation works.

The bypass construction, started in 2016, was built at the cost of Nu 40.2 million.