Heavy rains cutoff Gasa

Roadblocks at various points follow heavy and continuous rainfall since May 31

Disaster: Gasa is once again cutoff from the rest of the country since May 31 evening, when heavy rains blocked the only road connecting the dzongkhag at various points between Puntshopang and Damji.

Gasa dzongdag, Dorji Dhadhrul, said the dzongdag, dzongrab and some officials were returning from Punakha on the evening of May 31 after seeing off the agriculture minister, when the road above Damji got blocked.  Commuters on either side of the road remained stranded for more than two hours.

“At one time, even the excavator had difficulty crossing the road,” he said. “After waiting for more than two hours, we managed to cross the road on the excavator.”

Dzongdag Dorji Dhadhrul said the water volume had risen, as the hume pipe installed under the road was unable to drain the water.

Blocks were reported on two other places, Ganteygang and Gaza, after crossing Phuntshopang as of yesterday.  Gasa is still connected with a feeder road and widening works are ongoing.

Officials in Gasa said the dzongkhag has been without electricity and internet since 11:30am, yesterday.

The Department of Roads staff is clearing the block with three earth-moving machines.  However, the dzongdag said one machine had broken down.

“The worry is, if we don’t get backup machines, the chances of other machines breaking down is high.”

Khamey gup Karma said there were also minor blocks on two other areas.  He said, roads officials managed to clear the road yesterday but continuous rain blocked it again.

“The main problem of the block is because of not having a bridge over the stream at Phuntshopang,” he said. “Also the soil is still unstable following the 2012 flash flood.”

Bhutan Power corporation officials have informed the dzongkhag officials that the power cut was due to the falling of a tree on the transmission lines, and that work is ongoing to restore power.

In 2012, a flash flood washed away the road at Phuntshopang, leaving the district cut off for about six months.  In 2010, the dzongkhag was cut off for more than a week, following a major roadblock at Sisigang on the way to Gasa.

By Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue

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