The gewog wants the link, curtailed for ecotourism reasons, to be completed

GC Road: Save for Sakteng, almost all the gewogs in Trashigang have gewog centre (GC) roads.  With work on the truncated Merak GC road kicking off, highlanders of Sakteng are also demanding the same.

Today, the road connectivity to Sakteng is only until Tharkthi, which is about 38km from Rangjung.  From Tharkthi, it is about 14km to Sakteng.  The road was left midway to gain from eco-tourism through porter-pony services to the visitors.

Sakteng gup Tshewang Tshering said that the government policy only benefitted about 10 percent of villagers, who owned horses and mules.  The issue was raised a couple of times during dzongkhag tshogdus and to the works and human settlement minister.

“Lyonpo Dorji Choden said the ministry would look into the possibility of road extention until the gewog centre within the 11th Plan,” said Tshewang Tshering. “We didn’t include the road construction in our annual gewog plan because it’s beyond our capacity. The budget and support must come from the centre.”

However, the construction of road until Tharkthi is not included in the plan.  On the other hand, the recent dzongkhag tshogdu resolved to request approval for the construction of the remaining road from the agencies concerned.

Although all GC roads were handed over to the department of roads (DoR) last year, dzongkhag engineer (DE) Lekjey said that the dzongkhag was still involved because it was yet to complete some portion of the work along the 38km stretch until Tharkthi.

“Though we can say that the construction works are almost complete, a few permanent works like constructing retaining walls and bridges that were taken up by different contractors,” he said.

Of the four bailey bridges and one roller compacted concrete (RCC) bridge, construction of two bridges is complete.  The Rangjung-Tharkthi road will be handed over to the people very soon.

The construction of the Rangjung-Tharkthi farm road is divided into two phases.  Work on the first phase from Rangjung to Janjanma started between 2010 and 2011 with SDP funding of Nu 11.8M (million).

The second phase, about 24km from Janjanma to Tharkthi, commenced from 2013 with government fund of Nu 72M.

By Tshering Wangdi, Trashigang