The poor road condition will see no improvement unless the division concerned takes charge

Thromde: Lack of consensus between the urban road and drainage section and Asian Development Bank (ADB) project officials of Thimphu thromde has left the road network in south Thimphu crying for maintenance.

The development of the internal road network in the extended municipal area in south Thimphu began since 2009, with financial support from ADB.  The extended municipal area in the south extends from Changjalu to Babesa near the Thimphu gate.

ADB project officials under thromde said development of the road network began from Changjalu in 2009, followed by Olakha, Semtokha, Babesa and Chang Bangdu, where works completed last year.

Project officials said, after the construction completed, thromde’s urban road and drainage section was supposed to take over the roads.  The division is also responsible for the maintenance of Thimphu’s urban road network, as they are entitled a separate budget for maintenance.

“The division refused to take over, citing manpower shortage, while we aren’t entitled maintenance budget under the ADB project,” an engineer said. “Our responsibility and budget ends after the completion of development works.”

Another thromde engineer with the ADB project said the urban road and drainage section had asked them to rectify the road condition before they were handed over to the section. “We’re helpless as we don’t have a separate budget for maintenance,” he said.

However, the head of urban road and drainage section, Sangay Wangdi, said he had agreed to take over the roads, on the condition that the bad road condition would be reflected on the handing taking documents. “I haven’t heard anything officially yet from the project officials,” he said.

Road conditions in the extended municipal area, according to residents, are getting worse by the day.  Despite numerous complaints to thromde officials, residents said there was no improvement.

Today, the pothole-ridden roads, although fairly new, have become an eyesore, and the issue is compounded by a drainage problem in the vicinity.

“It’s worse during monsoon, as the area is congested and the road condition worsens,” an Olakha resident, Tenzin Pelden said. “It’s time the thromde looked into the issue.”

Residents blame the poor drainage system, damage by construction work, and heavy vehicles for the poor road condition in these areas.  Some even questioned the tendering process and quality of work by contractors.

“There could be something wrong with the quality of road as, whenever it rains, the condition deteriorates although the roads are still new,” a Semtokha resident, Nima Dorji said.

Thromde engineers with the ADB project, however, blame residents and house owners for not taking care of the roads.  Engineers said the condition of road has nothing to do with the quality of work, as they had involved construction companies from Nepal and Korea.  Officials said contractors from ADB member nations could participate in the tendering process, as per the ADB guideline.

The third package of the ADB project was for Babesa area that was done by Tundi Construction, a Nepal-based company.  Nima Construction and Jeongsan, a Korean-based company were involved in the development of the Chang Bangdu road network.  The packages include resurfacing and blacktopping, among others.

The carpet area of the blacktopped road, thromde engineers said was 25mm, in line with the ADB guideline.  Road infrastructure development in Chang Bangdu cost Nu 214M (million), while for Olakha it cost Nu 109M.

By Kinga Dema