Connectivity: Works and human settlement secretary Phuntsho Wangdi visited Dzongkhalum to assess the roadblock there yesterday.

The secretary said it was his ministry’s responsibility to provide convenient road services to the people. He said the works and human settlement ministry is concerned about the roadblock, which has hampered transport services since July 5.

“We will get in touch with the contractor and discuss what could be done,” the secretary said. He said the block would be cleared in a few days if the weather improves.

Locals say the Department of Roads (DoR) has done nothing to clear the block. However, the secretary clarified that widening of the road was handed over to the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority.

“The project authority has taken over the road widening works at Dzongkhalum since they have the expertise. “The project is working hard,” he said.

The secretary also said the project authority allows road users to use a bypass tunnel as an alternate route.

Students travelling on foot are a common sight in the area. Students have completed their summer break and are going back to their schools and colleges.

People told Kuensel that workers at the site are making little effort to clear the roadblock. They said the workers worked only for a few hours a day.

A person walking towards Trongsa town from Taktse, who wished not be named, said that although he heard the workers were trying to clear the road he is not convinced. “But I always see them taking rest along with a parked excavator,” he said.

Another person, who also wished to be not named, said the labourers worked for only five to 10 minutes a day. “We don’t understand what they are doing when they don’t work. They don’t work even if the weather is good,” he said.

The man said the labourers worked only when officials came to the site for inspection and monitoring.

Assistant Executive Engineer Rinzin Dorji who was at the site at 6:30pm yesterday said it is not true that the people at the site are not working hard. “The workers here work hard but they are also weary of the danger and have to be watchful,” he said.

Rinzin Dorji said a team of officials also visited the area above the landslide to see what mitigation measures could be done.

Nima Wangdi | Trongsa