Lhuentse pushes once more to improve highway

Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Lhuentse Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) in its recent session resolved to widen or improve its highway from Gangola to Lhuentse town, and the resolution would be submitted to the Parliament and the government for approval. 

During a day-long session on July 17, members pointed out that the issue was raised and recommendations passed in the previous sessions without any response. 

Members said it was left unattended because of the ongoing talks on Shingkhar-Gorgan bypass road, which could have partly addressed the issue. 

Khoma gup Sithar Tshering, said, “However since the bypass road construction plan is withheld now, we need our existing road to be improved,” 

He said the dzongkhag road in some stretches is worse than some farm roads. “The patients referred out to other hospitals suffer the most from the bad road conditions.”

He said the road is narrow and has many sharp turnings which posed challenges and risks for drivers. 

 “Widening the turns and blacktopping them would ease the travel and make it safer for the travellers if there is no budget to widen the entire road.”

Sithar Tshering said when the gewogs could reprioritise development activity and use block grant for the purpose, the parliament certainly could take it as a priority. 

 “We want the work to be executed in this Plan,” he said.

Maedtsho gup, Gembo, said besides widening the east-west highway, most of the dzongkhag roads were improved with two-lane except for Lhuentse. “It was unfair.” 

Lhuentse dzongkhag officials said that the highway was the lifeline of the people of Lhuentse and a better road would transform their livelihoods and boost economic development.

Meanwhile, the chief engineer of DOR’s regional office in Lingmethang, Karma Rinzin, said the widening and improvement of Gangola-Lhuentse was necessary. The issue has been included in his office’s plan and raised during annual meetings.

He said the regional office has proposed Nu 100 million (M) for this financial year for the road, but only Nu 20M has been approved due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation. 

“It will cover resurfacing the road about 12km and we’re planning to carry it out this year,” he said 

A study is being carried out to improve the 7km farm road from Tokarey village in Tsamang to Dorjilung and construct an additional 3km from Dorjilung to the other side of Rewan. 

The bridge earlier surveyed to be built at Dorjilung would now be moved opposite to Rewan. 

This, according to DOR officials, would not only shorten the length of a bailey suspension bridge from 310 ft to 130 ft. 

It could also bypass the treacherous Dorjilung area and serve as a bypass road for Lhuentse to Thimphu via Yongkola. The bypass road is expected to cut the distance between Yongkola and Rewan by around 30km.

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