Chimi Dema | Dagana
Villagers of Khebisa and neighbouring gewogs in Dagana can reach the dzongkhag administration in half the time after the blacktopping of the gewog connectivity (GC) road, which is in full swing, completes soon.
The improvement of GC road, which also connects Drugjyegang gewog, would not only benefit residents of the gewogs but also shorten the distance and save travel time for people commuting from Tshangkha and Lajab gewogs to Dagana.
A villager from Tshangkha, Chandra Bahadur Chuwan said that with the completion of the road, the distance between his gewog to Dagana would be shortened by about 45km.
“Given the distance of 103km today, it takes us almost five hours to reach the dzongkhag and hiring a taxi is expensive,” he said. “We have to pay at least Nu 3,500.”
Zinchila village tshogpa in Tshangkha, Nidup Dorji, said that the shortening of distance and travel time could also improve efficiency in public service delivery.
“We need to travel to the dzongkhag frequently for official work. With the distance shortened, we would be able to return to our station the same day,” he said.
Tshangkha Gup Tawla said that it was difficult to travel to Dagana during monsoon owing to frequent roadblocks on certain stretches along the highway.
“Therefore, GC road in Khebisa through Drugjeygang could serve as a bypass road for commuters,” he said.
With the road blacktopped, the distance between Lajab, one of the dzongkhag’s remote gewogs, and Dagana would be shortened by 44km and by 41kms from Drugjeygang.
The blacktopping of 18.8km road in Khebisa is being executed in two work packages. Laying of the base course and sub-grade preparations have been completed on the entire stretch.
Currently, wet mix macadam work is being carried out to begin bitumen work.
Having completed almost 90 percent of the work, the blacktopping worth Nu 54M is expected to be completed by next September.
Khebisa Gup Namgay said that the gewog administration would soon begin granular sub-base work on 24km stretch of road from gewog centre to Dagana.
Lajab GC road blacktopping is also underway. Gup Dhan Bdr Gurung said, “With blacktopping work ongoing, many farmers have ventured into commercial vegetable farming in the gewog now. We are excited.”
The Dzongkhag Planning Officer Sonam Jamtsho said that the dzongkhag has written to Gross National Happiness Commission for the additional budget of Nu 35 million (M). “The commission assured us the budget.”
Gup Dhan Bdr. Gurung said that about 65 percent of the work has been completed as of now. “The first and second phases are expected to be completed by April next year.”
The blacktopping of GC road of Lajab is estimated to cost Nu 97M.
With blacktopping GC roads in these two gewogs, Dagana has only three GC roads of Gozhi, Geserling and Nichula to be blacktopped now.
“Both Gozhi and Geserling gewogs have less than a kilometer of road stretches without blacktopped,” Sonam Jamtsho said.
In Nichula, he said that a bailey bridge needs to be constructed prior to blacktopping the road. “Therefore, blacktopping work is not in the plan now.”