With multiple potholes and steep gradient along the road leading to the basic health unit (BHU) in Kanglung, Trashigang, people visiting the BHU are unhappy.

Patients and staff at the BHU said that it was high time the gewog and dzongkhag health sector carried out maintenance along the stretch. The road is less than a kilometre from the highway.

It was learned that for more than 18 years, no major maintenance works were carried out along the road since the establishment of the BHU.

“Patients especially expecting mothers who are in labour, people with fractures cases and other emergency patients suffer the most because of the bad road condition,” a BHU staff said.

The BHU sees more than 60 patients daily on an average.

With poor road condition, it added to the misery of the patients and visitors visiting the BHU, according to another staff.

A patient, Kinzang Wangchuk from Yonphula said that every year the condition of the road deteriorated. “Although short, it feels like hours when you have to travel through this stretch when you are sick and in extreme pain,” he said. “I wish they repair the road sooner so that the patients do not have to suffer additional pain while coming to the hospital.”

BHU officials said that they wrote to the gewog and dzongkhag administrations including project DANTAK requesting immediate maintenance at the road in 2015 about three times.

“There was no response from the gewog and dzongkhag administrations and the road remains the same, if not in worst condition today,” an official said.

It was also learned that without any action from the sectors concerned, the BHU staff conducted minor maintenance works on their own during weekends. Students of Sherubtse College and Jampeling central school and the community nearby also contributed to fill the potholes whenever required in the past.

BHU staff said that the condition became worst during monsoon as the rainwater washed away the debris and clogged the drainage system of the BHU.

The dzongkhag health officer (DHO) in Trashigang, Gang Dorji, said that the sector has proposed a budget for the maintenance of approach roads to four BHUs in the 12th Plan.

In Kanglung, he said that the road inside the gate would be maintained and blacktopped by the sector in the second year of the Plan. “However, the remaining stretch outside the gate would have to be carried out by the gewog since it’s in the community’s land.”

He explained that although they know the road needs maintenance, there was no budget proposed in the 11th Plan and it was difficult for them to carry out any sort of maintenance works.

A total of Nu 3 million (M) is proposed to blacktop the approach roads to four BHUs in Kanglung, Rangjung, Khaling and Bartsham.

Kanglung gup, Kinzang Dorji, said that blacktopping of the BHU road is one of the priority activities once the new budget is released.

“Given the challenges faced by patents visiting the BHU, the gewog has been asking the dzongkhag to propose a maintenance budget at the road,” he said. “The road will be blacktopped within the first year of the 12th Plan.”

Meanwhile, the DHO said that about Nu 11.5M for maintenance of 18 BHUs and staff quarters in the dzongkhag has also been proposed in the Plan.

This would include some major electrification works and repair of ceiling and floors at the Kanglung BHU.

Kanglung BHU was built in 2001 and until now has not undergone any form of maintenance.

Younten Tshedup| Kanglung