Victims to be compensated if genuinely affected

The Trongsa dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) asked the damage assessment committee to assess the destruction the on going East-West Highway widening has caused so far and ensure every victim receives compensation at the earliest.

The committee comprises of representatives from the dzongkhag engineering sector, Department of Roads (DoR), dzongkhag agriculture office and other relevant agencies.

The DT resolved this following a lengthy discussion yesterday, where it saw various issues raised by its DT members mainly from Tangsibji and Nubi gewogs affected by the road widening works.

The DT thrizin, Nubi gup, Ugyen Tenzin asked the committee to assess the damage on the stretch from Tangsibji till Dorjigonpa.

Tangsibi gup, Gembo Dorji who raised the issue to the DT said the road widening work has destroyed a number of houses in his gewog.

He said that as per the gewog’s proposal, the dzongkhag carried out an assessment earlier but the dzongkhag officials claimed there were no serious problems. “The houses have widely cracked today if you go to the field,” he said. “The dzongkhag and DoR should reassess the damage.”

Tangsibji gup said people keep complaining almost every day, both through phone calls and in written, saying that they were affected. “In some places, hills have slid down causing cracking of the houses above the roads,” he said. “We need retention walls in some places.”

Nubi mangmi, Pema Lhamo, also said some people in Nubi gewog have not been able to cultivate for the last two years because of the road widening works.

DoR’s chief engineer in Trongsa, Taugay Choedup, said they surveyed, fixed poles and compensated the people once before they started road-widening work.

“We have been constructing retention walls where it is risky,” he said.  “We have not received any written complaints as of yet except of a few verbal complaints.”

Taugay Choedup said the victims should be compensated if they are affected genuinely. “We can’t compensate the victims until the land record section surveys and produces clear documents,” he said.

Trongsa dzongkhag’s land records officer said the previous DT session decided to assess the total destruction after the highway widening work is complete.

But the thrizin said it is not justifiable to keep victims waiting till the road widening works are completed. “The assessment and compensation has to be made immediately.”

Thromdey Ngotshab (representative) Sonam Tobgay said the blasting at the road widening sites are louder causing cracks on the houses in Trongsa town. “It even causes tremors,” he said. “I suspect the contractors are blasting at stronger magnitudes to have better effects as their contract terms are closing,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Tangsibji gup also said the contractor at Thumang Drak is blocking the roads for hours during the day and also blocks the road in the night. “People are unclear about whether the contractor could block the road during the day time.”

Taugay Choedup said contractors are not allowed to block the roads during day but it happens in the process of their hard work to complete the work on time. “The blasting is also under control when we monitor,” he said.

Nima Wangdi | Trongsa