Chimi Dema | Tsirang

The Manitar-Lhamoidzingkha highway reopened to traffic on March 4 after the construction and widening of the 450m road stretch at Sonam Bja completed recently.

The pavement work, which includes the construction of a box drain and the laying of granular sub-base (GSB), however, would be completed within June this year.  The blacktopping of the stretch is expected to be complete by the next financial year after the slope is stabilised.

Formation cutting work began in November last year after a landslide caused by heavy rains damaged a 120-feet bailey bridge in July.

Sonam Bja is 69km away from Phuentsholing via Jumja from where the distance to Lhamoidzingkha is about 36km.

As their main road link to Gedu and Phuentsholing remained cut off for the past four months, Lhamoizingkha residents travelled through the Dalbari-Dagapela road, which is yet to be completed.

They travelled to Phuentsholing using an Indian route that ends at Pasakha.  Essentials commodities and other goods are being escorted via the route twice a week.

Lhamoidzingkha Gup Surja Bdr Limboo said that, except for emergencies and delivery of essential services, personal movement requests via the Indian road were not entertained due to the pandemic.

The gup at a drungkhag Covid-19 task force meeting yesterday said that a decision was taken to initiate escort services for vehicles transporting food and other essentials from Phuentsholing beginning today.

“This is in adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols as vehicles would travel between high-risk zones through a low-risk zones,” he said.

The gup also said that the drivers of passenger buses coming from Thimphu would be stopped at the Raidak checkpost.  Lhamoidzingkha is 29km away from the checkpost.