Infrastructure: Zangthi, Tshothang and Doongmanma chiwogs in Lauri gewog will have to wait until the 12th Plan for their farm roads to be connected with a bridge over the Zangthi river.

This is the resolution of the Samdrupjongkhar Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) that was held on February 16.

The Lauri gup and mangmi tried to convince the tshogdu on the dire need of a bridge but after more than 30 minutes of deliberation members decided to incorporate the bridge in the first financial year of the 12th Plan given lack of budget.

While farm roads to Zangthi and Doongmanma are being constructed, construction of a farm road to Tshothang is yet to begin. The farm roads will remain underutilised without a bridge even if it is completed on time.

A bridge would be required over the Zangthi for three farm roads to be connected with the three villages. Today villagers travel by car until Wongthing. From there, they walk to their villages- Tshothang, Zangthi and Doongmanma using a suspension bridge over the Zangthi.

With an estimated cost of about Nu 13M (million), Lauri gup, Tempa Gyeltshen explained that the gewog has only about Nu 5M from this financial year and Nu 2M from the gewog development grant. Therefore, the gewog raised the case in the DT to seek budget as the bridge is vital for the villages.

Since the bridge was not in the Plan, the gup requested DT members to incorporate the bridge in the 11th Plan and adjust the budget either from the dzongkhag development grant or from other planned activities.

The bridge will benefit about eight villages with more than 200 households.

Mangmi Tenzin explained that initially during the survey only one bridge over the river Jomo, which is under construction at present, was incorporated to connect the entire road including the gewog centre.

“But later the plan didn’t materialise with the inception of the Ngera-Ama hydropower power survey,” he said, adding that the new survey then found the requirement of a new bridge that was not in the Plan.

Tenzin requested for the budget to be arranged from the dzongkhag development grant, to which Dzongdag Tharchen Lhendup explained that the fund should be used equally among the 11 gewogs in line with the guidelines.

Although members supported the issue stating that road connectivity is important for development of any gewog, they said that the cost and availability of budget must be considered.

Dzongkhag planning officer Ngawang Chophel said although the cost estimation is about Nu 13M, the cost could either escalate or decrease during the actual implementation of the work unless the bridge is completed within a year, which is not impossible.

With no budget available from the current or next financial year, the proposal was rejected as construction of the bridge would incur huge costs.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Samdrupjongkhar