With seven of the 11 questions raised in the National Assembly related to road connectivity, the issue dominated the question-answer session yesterday.
Questions were raised on the status of highway maintenance, bypass constructions, farm road improvement, gewog centre road blacktopping and bridge construction.
Works and human settlement minister Dorji Tshering said like the past two governments, the present government also prioritises road connectivity as the main drive for economic prosperity and allocated a huge budget for it in the 12th Plan.
He said the widening works of north East-West highway will be completed during this term.
In the 12th Plan, gewogs will construct the remaining 23 GC roads with Nu 2.5B and 47 chiwog roads with Nu 1B.
Lyonpo Dorji Tshering said Nu 3.9M has been allocated to each gewog this financial year to lay base course on farm roads. “We allocated Nu 4B in this plan period for gewogs to construct and improve roads.”
There are 18,182km farm, school, lhakhang and hospital roads in the country of which 10,292km is farm roads and 2,000km GC road.
Opposition Leader Pema Gyamtsho (PhD) said GC roads are not benefitting rural residents, as some GC roads are near dzongkhag headquarters and villages are scattered in far-flung areas.
Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel reminded the members not to discuss on Shingkhar-Gorgan bypass construction and Maokhola bridge if nothing concrete is coming out of the discussion, as it has been discussed in every session of the Assembly since 2008. “We have to ensure that the two issues are addressed if we discuss it. We are making a mockery of the august house and wasting time.”
The 30km Laptsakarchung in Dagana to Kamina in Daga gewog, Wangduephodrang bypass would be constructed through dzongkhag grant in the next financial year.
Lyonpo Dorji Tshering said the bypass would shorten the route to Dagana by 70km and reduce travel time by two hours.
He said there is 40km farm road from Dagana to Laptsakarchung and 10km till Kamina.
He also said the ministry is giving priority to construct other bypasses like Khomshar-Wama in Zhemgang and Tangsibji-Kela in Trongsa.
Lyonpo Dorji Tshering said Panbang-Gelephu internal road would be constructed after Maokhola bridge construction, which is expected to complete in another two to three years.
He said Maokhola is the main connecting point for south east-west highway construction. “The 800m long bridge would be the longest in the country and it would cost around Nu 1B.”
There is a 60km rough road till Kanamakara and only another 50km would be constructed.
According to the minister, Nu 20M is allocated to improve 15km road from Doksum to Chazam in Trashiyangtse, tender has been floated for 23km road from Tshelingkhor to Pemagatshel and evaluation is underway.
He said that budget is allocated for 13km road from Pemagatshel to Khothakpa.
Lyonpo Dorji Tshering also said the ministry is exploring funds to improve and widen Gangola-Lhuentse road.