The government is ready to implement the Shingkhar-Gorgan road project that will cut the journey from Bumthang to Lhuentse by 92 kilometres, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said yesterday in the National Assembly.

He was responding to a question from Gangzur-Minjey MP Karma Rangdol, who said that the government has failed to live up to its promise and asked when it would be able to start the project.

The government in the second session of the second Parliament had agreed to implement the road project.

“It’s the 9th session of Parliament and construction of the road has not started,” MP Karma Rangdol said. “Both the Prime Minister and the agriculture minister have failed.”

The Prime Minister said that the government had not implemented the project because of lack of environment clearance. “If we get clearance from the National Environment Commission (NEC), we are ready to start the work this year,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the Department of Roads has carried out an environmental impact assessment. A new environmental impact assessment is also being carried out.

He said the government was hopeful of receiving clearance from the NEC. “We have to abide by the country’s laws. Otherwise, we will set a wrong precedence,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that adequate money and other resources have been kept for the project. “We also have the design ready. We can start the work as soon as we get the clearance,” he said.

Agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji said it was important for the government to follow due process while implementing development activities. “If we don’t follow the laws there is no need for Parliament to enact them,” he said.

He said that the law must be respected. “We know that the road is very important,” he said. “We have not failed. We are proud to have upheld the law.”

The government, he said, also needs to give due regard to the findings and suggestions of the civil servants and the NEC. “It is not advisable for the government to follow a wrong precedence even if some past projects were implemented without environment clearance.”

MB Subba