Connectivity: Should everything go as planned, people will soon be able to travel directly from Haa to Siliguri in India in about seven hours by the end of next year.

A road that will double as a secondary national highway to connect Haa to the border with India, via Samtse, is currently under construction.

So far construction of the highway is on track.

“Despite Haa being closer to the capital, people consider the dzongkhag very remote,” said a villager from Katsho, Rinchen. This road, he said will bring “immense” economic benefit to the dzongkhag.

Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said the road is a necessity to improve livelihoods in the two remotest gewogs in Haa: Sangbaykha and Gakiling.

Some economic benefits, he said, would be easy access to markets for farmers growing cardamom, and for producing highland animal products in Haa. The route, he said, may bring additional tourism to the dzongkhag. For instance, both regional and international tourists may choose to take this route as Samtse is closer to Siliguri than Phuentsholing. This may sprout infrastructure development and tourist related business activities in the dzongkhag.

As for the progress of the road construction, he said all those involved are working hard to complete the road as per schedule.

Except for blacktopping that will gain momentum from next year, most of the works have been completed, he said.

As of now, vehicles can ply on 2.8km of the road from Khamina towards Gakiling dungkhag. However the Department of Roads is attempting to break through a massive cliff near Yangtsena. The task is expected to be completed by this month end. If this is done, then vehicles should be able to ply from Haa to the dungkhag.

From Samtse towards the dungkhag, vehicles can ply till Cheu Chhu, the point below Rangtse. There is approximately 1.8km left to connect the road with Gakiling.

Back cutting works from the dungkhag to the Gakiling gewog centre is underway. With the completion of 610m of back cutting from Soechhu towards Tsanglina, the Sangbaykha gewog connectivity road is also nearing completion.

Two separate contractors for blacktopping of Sanbaykha gewog connectivity road and the Khamina to Gakiling road have reported to the site and have begun drain construction.

Tshering Dorji | Haa