Neten Dorji

Kangpara— Frequent roadblocks in the summer months along the Paydung area, located 8 kilometers from Kangpara gewog towards Thrimshing, inconvenience commuters using the Kangpara-Thrimshing GC roads.

Every summer, falling boulders and landslides consistently obstruct a 140-meter stretch of the road.

Due to the blockage, residents traveling to Thrimshing and other destinations are compelled to either return home or opt for an alternative route via Baydengphu, which is situated 58 kilometers away, to reach Thrimshing.

Annually, the gewog administration must hire machines to clear roadblocks and deploy human resources at the site for road clearance.

“A significant portion of the gewog budget is consistently allocated to clearing roadblocks at Paydung Brak,” remarked a resident. “The recurring slides and accumulation of small gravels continue to obstruct the road.”

It was learned that keeping the road clear and the Padydung blocks open to traffic costs the government more than Nu 1.5 to 2 million (M) every year on average.

Residents of Kangpara assert that they are adversely impacted every monsoon season by the blockage at Paydung towards Thrimshing and Khaling towards Trashigang.

“I fear we will endure the same predicament next monsoon,” remarked a resident, Yeshi Dorji. “It seems everyone overlooks the issue during winter, but come monsoon, we find ourselves isolated and cut off from essential connections.”

“At Paydung Brak, there is debris from a landslide above the road,” expressed another resident, Melam Dorji. “There are numerous flows of debris and runoff in Paydung Brak that are gradually slowing down and posing a risk of falling onto the road. I fear that these flows of debris may eventually bury vehicles passing by.”

Civil servants stress the pressing need for a solution to the challenges in the Paydung area before the monsoon season commences.

A civil servant highlighted the high risk of driving through this area due to shooting boulders and landslides.

“Communities have faced challenges commuting along this road for the past five years, and unfortunately, this year, we anticipate encountering the same difficulties.”

Bolero driver Tashi Wangdi expressed concern that if no action is taken before the monsoon, commuters to Kangpara will be forced to continue detouring via Baydengphu, incurring significant costs for the people.  

“But the Baydengphu road is also susceptible to landslides in summer,” he noted. “The plight of travellers will only worsen if a permanent solution is not found.”

Tashi Wangdi said that this road serves as a lifeline for more than 5,459 people in Kangpara. Road users emphasize that merely clearing the blocks when they occur will not resolve the problem; sustainable solutions are needed.

“We have been informed that the gewog has proposed a permanent solution, but nothing has materialized yet,” lamented Tashi. “It has been over five years since landslides have become a recurrent issue in the area.”

Kangpara Gup, Sangay Tenzin, said that the gewog administration has proposed to the dzongkhag and central government to find a lasting solution to the landslide problem.

 “The government must dispatch an expert to conduct a survey and determine the most effective strategy to address the issue,”he urged the group. “With limited budget allocation, our options are restricted to road clearance.”

The 33-kilometer GC road, stretching from Kharungla to Kangpara, benefits the residents of five chiwogs, reducing travel time by an hour when the road is clear.

 However, when there is a blockage at Paydung, people are compelled to travel approximately 58 kilometers via the Baydengphu route.

“Kangpara is underdeveloped, and with all these challenges, I doubt it will ever progress,” remarked a businessman. “It appears that our plight is being ignored by authorities.”