MoWHS minister quizzed on the status of East-West and Samtse-Tendu highways

Yangchen C Rinzin

Lyonpo Dorji Tshering said that human settlement ministry was in the process of preparing a detailed project report (DPR) for the construction of a bypass between Kuri-Gongri and Sherichu.

The bypass, which is one of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s pledges, would benefit about nine gewogs in seven dzongkhags, including Trashiyangtse, Mongar, and Trashigang. It is also expected to benefit five gewogs in Pemagatshel.

Lyonpo was responding to Kengkhar-Weringla MP Rinzin Jamtsho’s question on the status of the government’s pledge.

Rinzin Jamtsho said that although the government had pledged to construct a bypass, with no sign of construction, people were asking as to whether the pledge was put on ice.

Lyonpo said that the ministry was ready to award the contract. The 60km bypass, he said, would shorten the distance by 70km between Trashigang and other dzongkhags from Kuri-Gongri confluence.

“Having worked as an engineer in the ministry before, I know that the project is very much feasible,” Lyonpo said.

On East-West highway widening work, Lyonpo said that the project was underway. “The highway is indispensable and would be completed soon. We’ve planned a series of developmental projects along the highway, including maintenance activities.”

The ministry, he said, had completed blacktopping of about 150km road from Thimphu to Trashigang and about Nu 700 million (M) was earmarked to maintain the road between Lingmithang and Ura. “We’ve already awarded the project to contractors in eight different areas.”

The project, it is expected, will complete in about a years at the earliest.

Responding to Phuentshopelri-Samtse MP Ganesh Ghimiray, Lyonpo said that the work to maintain Samtse-Tendu highway had begun with awarding the work to the contractor.

“Winter is the best time for construction activities in the south,” Lyonpo said. “The work is expected to be completed in seven months.”

Of the Nu 509M earmarked for Samtse as a footprint of 111th National Day, Nu 120M was allocated for Samtse-Tendu highway project last year.