To improve the quality and durability of gewog centre (GC) roads, the government would increase the blacktop (premix carpet) thickness to 30mm (millimeter) from the current 25mm, according to the works and human settlement minister Dorji Tshering.

He said this at the National Council (NC) question hour session on January 18.

Lyonpo Dorji Tshering said that when GC roads were first constructed, the specifications were for farm roads. “There was no plan of blacktopping the GC road then but to just lay base course.”

He said that when plans to blacktop the GC roads were made, it did not meet the required specification of blacktopping.

Only 114 of the total 205 GC roads would require blacktop as 87 fall along the national highways. Of the 114, at least 92 are blacktopped as of last year.

Lyonpo Dorji Tshering said that although there is no adequate budget, the government would improve the condition of all roads.

Gasa’s NC member, Dorji Khandu, sought clarification from the government if they have plans to modify the current specification of the road pavement standard for both GC road and secondary national highways.

He said that during the 11th Plan, the ministry as per the road pavement design standard prescribed in road classification system constructed several kilometers of GC roads.

“Construction of remaining GC roads up to 886.95km is planned in the 12th Plan. However, the quality of the road is poor in most cases, as the road gets damaged within a year after the completion of construction,” Dorji Khandu said.

He said there is a need for the current standard to be improved to enhance the quality and durability of the road.

Dorji Khandu also said there was a similar problem with the secondary national highways. “For instance, the blacktopping of Punakha to Gasa road was damaged within one year of its completion.”

During the question hour session on Friday, Dagana NC member Surja Man Thapa also sought clarification from the minister on the blacktopping of Dagapela-Dalbari road.

He said although the road construction should have been completed, it is still under construction and blacktopping has just begun.

“The road, being a secondary national highway, should have 5.5ms carriage width blacktop specification but at the moment only 4ms carriage width is maintained,” he said. “This will have a lot of impact once heavy traffic flows along the stretch.”

Lyonpo Dorji Tshering said he would crosscheck it, as he was told that the blacktopping was done as per specification.

Nirmala Pokhrel