Phub Dem | Paro

Motorists and pedestrians commuting towards Geptay from Paro town are frustrated with the worsening road condition every year.

With the bridge en route Geptey worn out, commuters are worried it might collapse any time.

The road stretch is also filled with potholes and is worse than farm roads.

Residents living along the roads complain of dust during the dry season and muddy puddles during the monsoon. Walking along the road is a challenge.

Many drivers try to avoid the stretch as it damages the vehicles and the area is accident-prone as it is narrow and bumpy.

A regular motorist, Sonam, said that it had been more than two years since the road condition remained the same without any maintenance.

He claimed that it was difficult to drive along the stretch, especially during the rainy season as cars slipped.

He said some residents decided to maintain the road but couldn’t proceed as it was public property.

Another resident, Prem Maya, who runs a garment shop along the road, said customers were not willing to visit her shop because of the road condition.

Although her shop is right next to the town, she said customers were reluctant to even walk to her shop due to the muddy and bumpy road.

During a heavy downpour, she said that muddy water destroys her items displayed for sales, such as mattresses, beds, and carpets. “It is becoming difficult for shopkeepers. Our items usually remained covered against rain and dust.”

A Geptay resident, Karma Dema, said the roads are mostly covered with potholes starting from town to Satsam Choeten.

She said that the road was important for those residing and growing crops in Nemjo, Shomu, Gongju and Geptay.

She said that the road damages light vehicles and it was difficult even to hire cabs as drivers were reluctant to drive along the damaged roads. “Usually taxi drivers charge extra fare because of the road conditions.”

She also said not many people want to rent houses along Geptay road. “In the past, about six people would come looking for rental space.”

The road above Sompal Driving Centre mostly remains flooded due to poor drainage and irrigation canals.

Wangchang Gup Kuenzang Rinzin said road maintenance and blacktopping were underway along with the hospital road widening project.

He, however, said the bridge reconstruction was not included in the project. “There was no budget allocated for the bridge, but gewog would study and allocate budget considering the situation.”

According to sources, gewog doesn’t have a separate budget for blacktopping and it was the government that initiated the work, adding that the results usually lack quality.

During the deliberation on the budget allocation for the financial year 2021-2022 in dzongkhag tshogdu, Lamgong Gup Gem Tshering emphasised on the proper distribution of budget as the gewog has many important activities.

He said that the road connecting Geptay to Satsam Choeten benefits four gewogs of Lungnyi, Wangchang, Lamgong and Tsento. “Road improvement should be included in the plan activities.”

He requested the dzongkhag administration to reprioritise the budget.

Edited by Tashi Dema