Phub Dem

Gewog connectivity (GC) roads of Gakiling and Sangbaykha in Haa are filled with potholes.

Although the roads were blacktopped five years ago, there is no sign of the blacktop today.

Residents of the two gewogs describe the road condition as ‘pathetic’ and said small cars cannot ply on it.

Local government officials said that unlike other GC roads, which are mostly destroyed by heavy vehicles, heavy rainfall and poor quality damaged the road in Sangbaykha and Gakiling.

Gakiling gup, Wang Tshering, said that a five kilometres stretch of the road was in bad state and the gewog had kept a separate budget to realign and maintain it. “The gewog centre and the largest chiwog, Rangtse, remains cut-off during monsoon.”

He said they have to construct three bridges and repair the sliding area, but without sufficient budget, the gewog decided to realign the stretch to a shortcut connecting the secondary highway. “Works could begin by July and be complete by the end of the year.”

Gakiling gewog connectivity road

The gup said the gewog would remain cutoff this year also like every summer. “Such situation deprives the locals of availing services from the gewog administration.”

He said the road’s gradient was high, making it difficult for commuters without a four-wheel vehicle. “Allotting more budget on the road affects other essential development activities in the gewog.”

The situation is similar in Sangbaykha.

According to the gup, Tobgay, the gewog was looking forward to the Sochu hydropower project in the gewog as the project agreed to widen and repair the GC road.

He said construction of a bridge had already begun.

He said the road condition has been worsening since its construction in 2016. “There is no sign of blacktopping or even the base course in some stretches.”

A regular commuter said that the blacktopping was thin and it was quickly washed away during the monsoon. “It is a nightmare to drive through the road during summer.”

Sangbaykha drungkhag’s officiating drungpa  Karchung said officials from the Department of Roads said the roads were not blacktopped due to the risk of flooding in some stretches.

He said that the hydropower project officials had indicated to improve about four kilometres starting from Khamina, where the stretches are sharp and narrow.