Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

The construction of footpaths at Godoe Lam in Phuentsholing has completed and given the town its first friendly footpath for the differently abled people.

The footpath has a colourful mixture of green and red pavement blocks. Yellow tactile paving runs symmetrically through the colour blocks. The tactile paving blocks have textured surface, which the visually impaired people can detect using walking sticks.

Small concrete segments inclined from the end of the footpaths to the roads have also been constructed to facilitate wheelchairs.

Thromde officials said that the tactile initiative comes from the urban design plan manual. The requirement of infrastructure for differently abled is in the 12th plan, which is as per the urban design.

“Normal people would use the footpath but what about the differently abled ones?” thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said.

Uttar Kumar Rai said differently abled persons also have the same right to use the town’s infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the footpath development at Godoe Lam is a revamp of the previous one. The footpaths now have drains and are interconnected to other footpaths in the town. It is also spacious.

At Godoe Lam, 401 metres long footpath has been developed with 1.5 metres space on both the sides of the road. About Nu 3.5 million (M) has been invested. With this footpath there will be no parking space at Godoe Lam.

Although many have taken the initiative positively, some in the town said the “finishing” of the Godoe Lam footpath was not carried out properly. Pavement blocks have not been joined properly, some said.

However, thromde officials said installation was done as per the specifications, and are technically fine.

A thromde engineer with the infrastructure division, Ashok Sunwar, said there were several challenges they faced in executing the work.

“The construction was carried during the peak of winter break when many people flock to the town. People were walking and distorting the pavement blocks,” he said, adding that contractor has not compromised on the quality of the construction.

Ashok Sunwar said that people would always point out minor problems and forget the bigger picture. However, since such pedestrian footpath construction was carried out for the first time—there were many lessons to be learnt. “If there are problems, we will make sure that they are rectified,” the engineer said.

Works on improving another stretch of 800 metres of footpaths along the Deki Lam and Jorden Lam has already been tendered out. The same construction firm that completed the Godoe Lam footpath has been awarded the job.

A budget of Nu 6.1M will be invested in this project. Construction will start now, thromde officials said.