Local leaders have requested that PHPA I, BPC and DoR provide support to maintain the bridge

Infrastructure: The people of Rubesa gewog in Wangdue are seeking the Punatsangchu Hydropower Project Authority I’s (PHPA I) support to help restore the bridge connecting the gewog with Wangdue.

The bridge is located over the Dangchhu behind Wangdue Dzong.

The bridge, according to Rubesa gup, Gyeltshen, has become unstable, with its planks almost falling apart and foundation walls not in good condition. It has become risky for people to use the bridge especially during the monsoon season.

With news of roads being blocked and bridges collapsing, the people of Rubesa are concerned that the bridge over the Dangchhu is unstable and may also collapse.

He said that vehicles carrying heavy loads are to be blamed for the bridge becoming unstable. In most cases vehicles were found carrying heavier loads than the bridge’s carrying capacity.

Gup Gyeltshen said the bridge was initially built in 2003-2004. It caters to more than 200 households of the three chiwogs of Japhu, Zamdhing and Bangtaykha in Rubesa. The bridge also benefits the lhakhang of Nyinzergang, which receives visitors from across the country.

Although there is one bridge connecting the chiwogs with the Wangdue-Tsirang highway at the starting point of PHPA-I, it is a temporary bridge that will be removed following the project’s completion. The bridge is also being used only to dump muck.

Gyeltshen said while there is no written agreement between PHPA-I and the gewog, during a dzongkhag tshogdu three years ago, the project agreed that they would  maintain the bridge.

Given the agreement, the gewog did not allocate budget or list the bridge as part of its plan, the gup said.

Local leaders of Rubesa once again raised the issue on behalf of the public at the recent dzongkhag tshogdu.

He said that earlier the project agreed to assist with bridge maintenance, as the gewog allowed it to dump muck at Chakalungpa in Rubesa.

However, some local leaders said vehicles using the bridge carrying heavy loads mostly belonged to the Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC). Therefore, BPC should also take accountability in maintaining the bridge along with PHPA-I and the Department of Roads, they said.

Meanwhile, local leaders decided to write to the works and human settlement ministry to inspect the bridge condition, and also request the BPC, DoR and PHPA to jointly support the maintenance work.

Dawa Gyelmo, | Wangdue