Choki Wangmo | Dagana

Nichula gewog in Dagana would be connected with a motorable bridge with other towns within the current Plan.

The Lhamoidzingkha-Tashiding National Assembly member, Hemant Gurung, informed members of Dagana dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) recently.

The MP said that the government had proposed a Nu 44 million (M) bailey bridge over the Sunkosh river to the Gross National Happiness Commission and is currently awaiting approval.

Nichula Gup Nima Wangchuk Sherpa raised the issue at the DT, claiming that the lack of motorable bridge over the Sunkosh river has affected developmental activities within the gewog. “Farmers are discouraged to start income generating activities. Some residents have already moved out of the gewog.”

Nichula gewog in Lhamoidzingkha drungkhag is one of the least developed gewogs in the country.

Residents had been using a 220-metre-long suspension bridge since 2011.

During summer, local residents said swollen Sunkosh river cuts off the gewog from other neighbouring areas. Recent heavy rainfall had reportedly cut off the gewog for more than 15 days.

Although local government leaders of the gewog raised the issue in every DT session, the plan was never implemented, leaving many local residents frustrated.

Villagers said basic infrastructure development in the gewog has been hampered by the delayed Sunkosh project.

In the last Parliament session, National Council (NC) members recommended the government to provide a definitive timeline for the implementation of the Nu 200B Sunkosh hydropower project so that the people can benefit from planned infrastructure development.

NC members claimed most of the development works like roads, bridges and other infrastructure works under Lhamoidzingkha drungkhag have been delayed as they wait for the project to commence.

The delay, members said, has caused a major impact on the use of alternative routes to connect the drungkhag to other interior dzongkhags as many bridges are yet to be built.

The government, according to the Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma, had no timeline for the project commencement.

However, the principal dzongkhag engineer, Jamyang Dorji, said that the dzongkhag administration had earlier proposed a budget of Nu 50M for motorable bridge construction to the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement.  “But the ministry said that the proposed budget would be insufficient for the bridge construction.”

He said the ministry’s estimate for the construction was about Nu 90M. “If there was enough budget, the construction would be complete within six months to one year.”