Connectivity: With construction of the remaining 6km Gasa to Laya farm road starting recently, Laya gewog is expected to be connected with a farm road in 15 months.

This, however, is subject to weather.

Construction of the 26km farm road has reached Thonjokha which is around an hour’s walk from Koina, the first night halt for people travelling from Gasa to Laya.

The farm road will end at Tongchudrak, a four hour walk from Laya.

Construction of the Nu 70 million farm road started in the 2012-13 financial year, after the former Prime Minister approved it during the mid-term review in 2012.  Although construction of the farm road was in the plan before, it could not materialise as the road passes through the Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP).

The first phase which included 10km of the farm road started in 2012. The completion of the first phase was delayed due to difficult terrain and extreme weather. This hampered the completion of the second phase of the 10km road.

Site engineer at the farm road construction, Choki, said although 20km of the farm road has been constructed, vehicles can ply on only 16km of the road. Landslides have blocked the remaining 4km.

He said the completion of the farm road is expected to cut down the walking distance between Laya and Gasa by a day and half.

Dzongkhag officials said the road will help improve the living standard of Layaps and also benefit civil servants and teaching staff working in the gewog.

A villager, Rinchen, said although the incomplete farm road remains blocked during the monsoon, it helps them in the winter. “Most Layaps migrate to Punakha and Wangdue in winter and we transport all necessary goods to last a year when we return home. Farm roads have helped us immensely.”

Another villager, Pem Zam, 21, said the farm road would not only benefit Layaps  but also visitors to the locality. “Even our horses were spared from carrying huge loads for days,” said Pema.

Residents said the farm road would help in reducing the inflation rate in Laya.

Dzongkhag officials said whether the farm road would continue from Tongchudrak till Laya would depend on availability of funds.

Dawa Gyelmo | Gasa