The government’s pledge to blacktop all gewog centre (GC) roads across the country wouldn’t be possible with Merak and Sakteng GC roads still in the soling and formation cutting stage.

The road from Kardung to Merak runs 35.4 km and already has soling upto 11 km. The work for pavement and soling of additional 9.10 km road was awarded on November this year.

After the meet the press session yesterday, Lyonpo Dorji Choden told Kuensel that the soling work would complete this fiscal year after which blacktopping work would begin. “The blacktopping will be done in the 12th Plan,” she said. “I am sure that these GC roads wouldn’t be left aside by the next government when all other GC roads are blacktopped.”

An engineer with Department of Roads, Karma Tshewang said that soling has been prioritised to make the road pliable even during summer where the road on these stretches remains moist and marshy. “It is also a priority to do the pavement upto base course level because the blacktop will not last long given the extreme weather condition,” he said. “With the completion of soling on critical stretches, the road is expected to be pliable around the year.”

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said the people in Merak chose to blacktop the entire 35 km road stretch instead of the eight or 10km stretch. “We were planning to blacktop about 10 km road stretch because we don’t give big packages. When I was there, instead of doing the blacktopping stretch by stretch, the people wanted the entire road to be blacktopped at once.”

Meanwhile, the road from Thrakthrik to Sakteng, which is about 11.5km is under construction today. The formation cutting started in November 2015. As of today, about 7.4km of the formation cutting is completed.

Phurpa Lhamo