Connectivity: All gewog centre (GC) roads in Tsirang are expected to be blacktopped by September, according to officials of the Department of Roads (DoR).

So far, blacktopping of the 21 kilometre (km) gewog centre road connecting the three gewogs of Phungtenchu, Tsirangtoe and Sergithang has been completed. This was done under the Small Development Project (SDP) phase II. The 21km road includes a 5.25km stretch of the Phungtenchu GC road, and 12km each of the Sergithang and Tsirangtoe GC roads.

As part of phase III of the SDP, blacktopping of the GC road to six other gewogs is being carried out. It includes a 10km stretch of the Barshong and Patshaling GC roads. Currently a wet mix macadam is being laid on the stretch before blacktopping commences.

DoR’s principal engineer Rabilal Gautam said that for the GC roads of Semjong, Dunglagang and Kilkhorthang, the contract has just been awarded.

The contractor has begun deploying and mobilising labour, machinery and materials at the site. While Semjong has a 7.3km stretch until the gewog centre, Dunglagang has 10.5km. Kilkorthang gewog is on the way to Dunglagang. Another 80 metre stretch in Gosarling gewog was combined to be blacktopped with the Semjong GC road.

The remaining two gewogs of Tsholingkhar and Rangthaling already has blacktopped roads.

“By end of September this year we’ll complete blacktopping all GC roads in Tsirang,” he said.

However, he added that certain stretches of the GC road that falls on marshy areas or loose soil will be left out.

“It’ll be wastage of money blacktopping such stretches unless proper protection work is carried out,” he said. “There is a budget constraint to carry out proper protection works.”

All GC roads are blacktopped with funds from the SDP based on a thumb rule method, which provides Nu 2.9M for every kilometre.

Meanwhile residents of Sergithang, Tsirangtoe and Phungtenchu where blacktopping is complete say driving has become easier.

A resident of Sergithang, Nima said that before it used to take almost four hours by bus or medium vehicles but now it takes less than two hours.

“It was worse during the monsoon. Owners of light vehicles always left their vehicles at their friends’ or relatives’ place in Damphu town,” he said. “Let alone light vehicles even buses did not ply during the monsoon.”

The road is now pliable for all types of vehicles.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang