Blacktopping was completed in November-December last year

Roads: A few weeks after Dangchu gewog complained about the quality of their gewog connectivity (GC) road, the people of Phobjikha in Wangdue are also raising concerns about the poor quality of their newly paved GC road.

While the people of Phobjikha have not yet submitted a written complaint, the gewog’s gup, Jamtsho, said the road has started developing cracks less than a month after it was blacktopped.

Villagers also expressed concern that the contractor has already lifted machinery from the site, despite 100m of the GC road remaining unpaved.

The GC road is around 11.5km from the Gangtey Lhakhang Junction to a lhakhang in Phobjikha located 2km away from the gewog centre.

Blacktopping work in Phobjikha started in February last year and was stopped during the three monsoon months due to heavy rainfall. Work however resumed towards the end of the monsoon season and blacktopping was completed towards the end of last year.

However, the contractor has left around 100m of the road unpaved.

Phobjikha mangmi, Sati, said the newly paved roads have started developing cracks and that some blacktopped portions have started disintegrating.

“Judging the quality of the paved roads, we think they may not even last three months,” Gup Jamtsho said.

He said that perhaps the surface is too thin or the quality of work is poor.

Phobjikha gewog officials said people have been making verbal complaints to the gewog and have also started raising the issue during public consultations.

Since the work was done by the Department of Roads (DoR), the gewog office is not aware if the contractor has completed and handed over the road to DoR, Gup Jamtsho said. “We even inquired with DoR officials, who told us that they have been pushing the contractor and monitoring well,” he said.

However, people suspect that proper monitoring was not carried out.

DoR officials said the contractor had not handed over the road to DoR and they are yet to pay the full contract amount. Less than half the amount has been paid so far. “We have asked the contractor to repair all the defect parts before handing the work to us,” said a DoR official.

The contractor has to repair everything within the one-year defect liability period, and incase the contractor fails to do so, DoR will deduct 10 percent of the total contract amount and carry out the repairing works, said the official.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue