KP Sharma 

Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Dorji Tshering, announced that the government’s accelerated infrastructure improvement plan in five throms is advancing well, instilling confidence in achieving the initial targets within the next few months. 

This comes more than three months after Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering’s announcement during the celebration of His Majesty’s birth anniversary earlier this year.

The plan, encompassing Thimphu, Gelephu, Phuentsholing, Samdrupjongkhar, and Samtse, aims to revolutionise the regions by creating pothole-free roads and footpaths, establishing a 24/7 water supply, and implementing professional waste management systems within the towns.

However, concerns have emerged regarding the execution of these plans, especially following a recent water shortage in Thimphu Thromde that has lasted over a month. 

The issue typically arises between the months of April and May each year.

Water scarcity is also a major problem in Gelephu and Samtse towns. Furthermore, these areas have been grappling with challenges such as dilapidated roads riddled with potholes and inadequate waste management.

Addressing the concerns, Lyonpo Dorji Tshering emphasised that while Thimphu Thromde has sufficient water supplies, certain areas continue to face scarcity due to mismanagement by the beneficiaries. 

He specifically mentioned the water supply issue in Babesa, where two sources have dried up, and the Chamgang tank operated at only half of its capacity this year.

“The tank near Dantak in Babesa, with a capacity of 735,000 litres, had only about 20 cm of water level,” he said.

To tackle this pressing issue, Lyonpo outlined a solution that involves redirecting two additional water sources near the current supply point to the Chamgang tank. However, he explained that the lack of clearance from the people of Dagala hindered the connection of these two sources to the Chamgang tank in the past.

“I have instructed Thimphu Thromde to engage in discussions with the people in Dagala and immediately commence trapping water from these two sources,” Lyonpo said.

Highlighting a project worth 450 million, Lyonpo expressed optimism in resolving the water shortage issue in Gelephu Thromde. Balu Khola is set to be the primary source. About 70 percent of the project has already been completed.

“In the next six to seven months, Gelephu Thromde will no longer experience any water issues,” Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo said that Samdrupjongkhar, Phuentsholing, and Samtse do not encounter major water-related problems.

About the creation of pothole-free roads, Lyonpo said that significant progress was made in Gelephu. However, Samtse and Thimphu thromdes continue to struggle with pothole issues. He said that road maintenance works have already commenced in Thimphu and will be carried out in phases across different locations.

The initial package of road maintenance includes the centenary farmer’s market (CFM) area, Zangdopelri, and other key locations. The second package encompasses the route from Simtokha roundabout to Babesa junction on the old route. The identified roads will undergo blacktopping and widening. 

The first phase of road maintenance is expected to conclude within the next five months. Regarding Samtse, Lyonpo said that the ministry would commence targeting specific areas once the new financial year begins, with priority likely to be given to the parking area due to severe pothole issues.

According to Lyonpo, both Samdrupjongkhar and Phuentsholing towns do not face serious pothole issues.

To address waste management concerns in these throms, Lyonpo highlighted the waste flagship programme spearheaded by the Prime Minister’s Office as the solution. The programme aims to effectively tackle waste management challenges in the regions.