New lifeline for the West

Besides cutting short the distance, the road is expected to boost economic opportunities 

DANTAK: Work to construct an alternate strategic route across Wangchu connecting the Haa-Chuzom highway to Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway at Damchu began on July 25.

This new link road connects the existing Haa-Chuzom highway in Wanakha, Paro at 28km from Haa, and connects to the new Damchu-Chukha road over another bridge over Wangchu.

The new Damchu-Haa link road cuts the journey between Haa and Phuentsholing by 29kms and about two hours. People from Haa and parts of Paro will not have to travel to Chuzom to go to Phuentsholing.

Today, people travel for about eight hours and 223km to reach the border town for trade and commerce.

Inaugurating the 12.8km link road construction last Saturday, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that this would contribute to economic development, social growth, and nation building.

“This junction will connect the people of western Bhutan to where the economic opportunities are growing within the country and through it to the rest of the world,” said lyonchoen, who is also the Sombaykha-Gakidling parliament member from Haa.

He said more than the economic benefits, the Nu 852 million road would benefit as a strategic route connecting to the international airport in Paro.

The new road will also have a 200m bridge over Wangchu. This road would also connect the rest of the country to Samtse through Haa when the under-construction 157km road between Jenkana, Haa and Samtse completes.

Project DANTAK will construct the government of India funded road in three and half years.

Of the 10,713km roads across the country, 2,478 are national highways, 1,387 are dzongkhag roads, and 5,129km are gewog or farm roads as of today.

Project DANTAK under government of India funding has built more than 1,600km out of the 2,478km national highways.

The Prime Minister accompanied by cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, and officials from Border Roads Organisations, Project DANTAK, and Indian Embassy inaugurated the ground breaking ceremony.

Villagers from Haa said that the shortening of distance could increase their profits from sale of potato and apple which are sold in Phuentsholing.

“For us it means, we can save a substantial sum on the car fuel,” Eusu gup Tenzin Jamba said.

They feel the link road could help bring faster development mainly to the two poverty-stricken gewogs, Sambaykha and Gakidling across Tergola.

Katsho gup Chundu said, “There are also huge problems for the people in those gewogs for marketing their farm produce.”

“Once the highway to Samtse and this new link road are complete, economic benefits for us will become much more,” he said.

By Tshering Palden

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