Dechen Dolkar

Every monsoon, the Gakiling gewog centre (GC) road in Haa becomes difficult and risky to travel because of loose soil and sinkage near the three streams.

The 4.8-kilometre GC road is along the Dorokha-Sombaykha highway.

Gakiling Gup, Wang Tshering, said that the present gewog administration was handed the road without completing. The GC Road was constructed during the second local government’s term.

The gup said that the gewog attempted to improve its condition and spent Nu 500,000 last year alone for its maintenance.

“However, in monsoon, the GC road becomes impassable due to sinkage caused by three streams along the road,”  the gup said.

The gup said that last year gewog had to realign 1.5-kilometre section of the road, avoiding the steams in order to save budget on the construction of bridges across the three steams.

“Gewog has spent Nu 2.4M for realignment from gewog capital budget,” the gup said.

Gakaling GC road still remains to be blacktopped.

The gup said that even after completing realignment, boulders continued to fall and blocked the road last monsoon.

The gewog has floated a tender for the maintenance of the road, but contractors have been reluctant to participate since it is a small package of work.

The gup said that the gewog is waiting for the Department of Surface Transport to take over the GC roads following a resolution that was passed in the Parliament during last winter session.

Meanwhile, many other gewogs have not planned maintenance of the GC roads, anticipating the handover to the department.

According to officials from the department, GC roads will be taken over starting from the 13th Five-Year Plan.

The official said that the budget for road maintenance has already been allocated for the current fiscal year to the gewogs.

For the FY 2023-2024, the local governments are directed to fully utilise the budget under mandatory expenditure.

The government allocates a budget of Nu 30,000 per kilometre per year for road maintenance.

The GC roads were initially under the erstwhile Ministry of Works and Human Settlement, and later they were handed over to the gewogs in the 11th Plan. However, the gewogs were unable to carry out major maintenance due to budget constraints, leaving the roads in poor condition.