Neten Dorji | Trashigang

After much disagreement, the Trashigang dzongkhag tshogdu on Tuesday decided to blacktop the Merak gewog centre (GC) road from Chaling – Merak route.

There are three routes to Merak. The once remote gewog is connected from Chaling in Shongphu, from Khardung in Radhi, and from Karma Goenpa in Phongmey.

Local leaders of Merak proposed the dzongkhag tshogdu after consulting the people of Merak.

Merak Mangmi, Phurpa said that during consultations held before in the gewog tshogde, most of the people wanted to blacktop from Khardung- Merak route. “No one supported blacktopping the road from the Chaling side.”

He said 27 people supported blacktopping from the Phongmey route.

Dzongkhag Tshogdu, Chairperson Kinzang Dorji said that, DT member already decided to blacktop the Merak GC road from Chaling. “We also have resolution of 7th DT.”

The issue was also discussed during 7th Trashigang DT.  During the DT on December 24, the chairperson opened the session asking members if they wanted to discuss the blacktopping of the Merak GC road. Twenty members decided not to discuss and the decision remain unchanged.

However, highlanders are not happy with the DT decision, reasoning that the road from Chaling side is narrow and unstable and that the entire approved budget would go in improving the Chaling – Merak route.

One  highlander said that Khardung route was decided as a GC road and it is stable. He said officials from Department of Roads also estimated the budget from the Khardung side.

Another highlander said the DT members had not considered the stability and the size of the road from Chaling.

He said blacktopping the road from Chaling would be wastage of government money and time. There is no proper drainage system and other requirement for blacktopping.

Highlanders claim that Khardung – Merak road was most used route and convenient for the people.

The 7th DT’s decision was based on the fact that the Chaling –Merak route would benefit about 360 households of Chaling in Shongphu and Tongleng in Radhi.

Local leader of Shongphu gewog put the proposal to Merak GC road from Chaling side in the DT, claiming that it was the gewog tshogde’s decision.

The government has approved Nu 128.31 million in the 12th Plan to blacktop the Merak GC road.

It was learnt that dzongkhag officials were waiting for the DT decision to tender out the work.