Choki Wangmo

Less than four months after construction, the road connecting Serbithang to Ngabiphu in Thimphu is parched, damaged, and riddled with potholes.

The three-month-old road has left the residents irked and seeking thromde’s accountability.

The area was under thromde since 2002 and was taxed accordingly. In 2004, land in the area was pooled by the government promising road and streetlights for residents.

The representative of the Serbithang residents, Kezang, said that the road, which is about a kilometre was constructed only in 2019 and blacktopped three months ago.

The old road from Wangchhutaba to Serbithang was not maintained in decades, reasoning that the new road would benefit the area, he said.

Despite delaying the infrastructure, Kezang said that the quality was compromised when it was eventually built.

The blacktopping was completed within two days according to the residents. Of more than 30 households, 27 are within the thromde area.

Kezang said that he lodged a complaint to the thromde officials about the compromised quality but was reassured saying that the construction was according to the specifications.

“Although we informed thromde, the officials didn’t visit to monitor work. The fault is entirely thromde’s. We pleaded with them to visit the site,” he added.

At the site, Kuensel found that the road was damaged at various points, the blacktopping was not even an inch thick while the drains were higher than the road level.

During heavy downpours, the drain water overflowed on to the road, residents said. The private constructions along roadsides and plying of heavy vehicles also contributed to the damage.

The potholes were filled with gravels, which Kezang said was done a few days ago since he shared about the issue on social media.

A resident in the area, Om, said that during monsoon, the road was muddy and was inconvenient to users. “The earlier asphalt road was better.”

Another resident said that she was expecting the contractor to maintain the road but individual private builders in the area were also accountable.

“People should take care of the infrastructure but thromde should monitor to avoid wasting the government’s resources.”

The thromde engineer for the project said that by the time she joined the office, the project was almost completed and the former project engineer left for maternity leave. “The thromde is rectifying the damage and the contractor has to take responsibility.”

The thromde hasn’t handed over the road to public yet.

The financial audit of Thimphu Thromde’s current deposit account for the financial year 2018-19 revealed that the thromde had made excess, over, inadmissible payments and also payments for work not done to various contractors amounting to Nu 7.596 million in the construction and maintenance of roads, drains, and footpaths.