Transport: As if the pothole ridden dusty road that runs through the town was not enough to irk Nganglam residents, the lack of action from authorities to maintain the road has left them exasperated.
Residents complain that despite giving in writing, no measures have been put in place to maintain the road’s condition and control dust pollution in the community.
The 14km road has been washed off its blacktop completely and some sections of the road have started falling apart.
Residents blame the Department of Road for not repairing the road on time and worsening its condition. The renovation work was put on halt after the department terminated the contractor following quality compatibility over bitumen and aggregate, this year.
By then, the contractor had already dug up patches to resurface it with bitumen and after work was suspended, the road condition further deteriorated. The heavy flow of almost 200 trucks and tippers carrying cement, coal and gypsum everyday has caused additional damages.
Jigme, one of the residents said the dust settles in their homes and windowpanes. They water the road, but it has not helped.
“It’s time they repair the road instead of citing budget constraints,” he said. “The companies should have some responsibility because it is their trucks that damaged the road’s condition.”
Town thuemi Ugyen Dorji said they have written thrice to Dungsam Cement Corporation Limited and the dungkhag administration about a month ago to provide a water tanker for the road.
But, he said there is still no response. The dungkhag administration did not have additional budget to provide water tanker and the corporation was supposed to respond after discussing the matter with the committees.
The issue was also raised to Nganglam’s National Assembly and National Council’s representatives during a public gathering.
“We even informed the roads department but they said water would deteriorate the road’s condition and that they would repair the road soon,” he said.
Executive Engineer Ugyen Dorji based in Lingmithang, Mongar said they have already tendered the maintenance work and evaluation is going on.
Nganglam-Gyalpoizhing project manager Thinley Tenzin stationed in Nganglam said with only Nu 23 million (M) approved from the proposed Nu 65M, the entire stretch wouldn’t be blacktopped.
He said, they would use Nu 9M to construct 900 meters of rigid concrete pavement near the cement factory, another Nu 9M to blacktop a kilometer and Nu 5M to repair potholes for 12.1km of road.
The budget should be utilised by June 2016.
“We still have to decide which part of the town they should blacktop because every part of road has become critical,” he said, adding they cannot blacktop the entire road because that would require at least Nu 80M.
They plan to propose for additional budget to blacktop the rest of the road and said that until then, the residents will have to bear with the road condition. “But dust pollution would still remain until the trucks carrying cements are well covered,” he said.
Yangchen C Rinzin, Samdrupjongkhar