Residents of Merak are anxious over the completion of the improvement works along the geowg’s connectivity road.

On March 13, the gewog mangmi Phurpa raised concerns at the Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) and reported that the improvement works by the Department of Roads (DoR) were not carried out at the required locations.

“Instead the contractor is laying the base course over places where the road is already in good condition,” he said. “DoR should have consulted the people prior to carrying out the works so irrationally.”

The mangmi said that along the 35km GC road, there are certain areas that require immediate improvement before the monsoon begins. “These stretches become un-pliable once monsoon starts. If there is anything that can be done, it is now,” he said. “We have waited for almost four years for this road to improve. People are growing impatient.”

However, DoR officials said that the improvement works would cover all the critical areas that the gewog residents think are being left out currently. “There has been a miscommunication. We have visited the location during peak summer to identify the critical areas and it is covered in our plan,” said an official from the Rangjung Sub-division office.

The official, requesting anonymity said that since the works are being done in parts, the residents assume that some of the areas were being left out. “We have identified several marshy areas that need to be developed. Everything is being done as per the site requirement.”

Following the issue raised at the DT, the chairperson ordered that a joint inspection team comprising of officials and engineers from the department, dzongkhag and gewog administration be formed to examine the work.

On March 30, the team visited the location. Dzongkhag officials said that on inspection, all works were being executed as per DoR’s plan.

“Although the GC roads are under DoR, as per the DT’s resolution the dzongkhag administration was a part of the inspection team. As far as we are concerned, all works are going according to plan,” Trashigang dzongdag Chekey Gyeltshen said. “It seems that there was some miscommunication between the gewog administration and the DoR.”

Improvement works on the Merak GC road began on November 13 last year. The works include stone soling and GSB (Granular Sub Base) along the 11.7km of the total 35km road.

DoR officials said that soling works at Thumburla, the highest point along the stretch was completed first since it was one of the identified sinking areas and required immediate improvements. Some 900 metres of stone-soling works were carried out in the area.

Currently, works are ongoing along the 30km stretch between Kektong Brangsa and Jigmeling. DoR officials said there are several identified marshy areas along the stretch that needs to be improved.

The improvement works are expected to complete this month.

Younten Tshedup | Merak