Connectivity: Getena, one of the remotest gewogs in Chukha, has been cut off for more than a month now.  The gewog’s road was severely damaged during heavy rains in July.

Many road stretches at several points have been completely washed away.

As of now there are no reports of shortage of food items in the gewog according to the gewog’s administration.

But with the number of days increasing and the road still not connected, people in Getena may face difficulties in transporting their rations, if a shortage arises.

The Getena road passes via Meretsemo and Badina in Bongo gewog. Meretsemo is 20km away from Gedu, while 5km further from Meretsemo is Badina.

It usually took six to eight hours of walking to reach the Getena gewog centre. But now, it takes more than 15 hours to reach the centre with people having to make a night halt in between.

Today, even horses cannot be used to transport materials over the washed away areas. It is also risky for people to walk over these areas.

On August 21, a pregnant woman was airlifted to the Thimphu referral hospital for an emergency. Getena has a Basic Health Unit grade II. The gewog also has a primary school.

Meanwhile, the Department of Roads (DoR) has deployed an excavator and a compressor to clear the blocks. But with the Dungna gewog connectivity road, which connects Dungna, Metedkha gewog, and some villages of Phuentsholing gewog, Lokchina, and Geling, also affected by blocks, it has become a difficult task for the department.

Executive engineer with DoR in Phuentsholing, EN Chhetri said they are doing everything possible to clear the roads. “We have placed machineries in required places,” he said, adding that the biggest challenge is to clear the initial blocks. “Machineries cannot go any further until the blocks in the initial places are cleared.”

Near the Badina area, the engineer said a stretch of more than 30m has been washed away.

Similarly, the Dungna gewog connectivity road has been damaged at several points after the 3km point from Ganglakha.

Blasting is also being carried out in places where it has become difficult to excavate and clear. With the Local Government elections nearing by the day, the connectivity problems could impact voter turnout.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing