Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

After floating the tender and awarding the resurfacing work for Samtse-Sipsu national secondary highway, mobilisation works started, according to officials from the Department of Roads (DoR) in Samtse.

A budget of Nu 15 million (M) has been approved for the project.

Samtse residents raised concerns on the poor condition of about 50kms of the secondary highway for a long time. In June this year, the government had announced the highway would be repaired in the Parliament.

Currently, the road has countless potholes, which is further aggravated by poor drainage system.

A Chengmari resident, Dharmananda Dhimal said there were potholes everywhere along the highway. “They say it is highway, but when we look at it, it’s a rough road.”

He said that if it’s a national highway, it should be properly maintained.

Dharmananda said he has never seen any repair works being carried out on the road.

A driver, Diwakar Pradhan in Sipsu said passengers have uncomfortable experience travelling on the unrepaired highway. “It also consumes time and fuel consumption also increased.”

He claimed the poor road condition also damages vehicles, which needs to be taken to workshop every month.

Sipsu residents also said it was because of the bad road condition that people chose to take the Indian road via Nagarkata.

“If the highway was good, Bhutanese drivers would travel from the roads within,” a resident said. Many drivers also said that about 80 percent of the people driving to Sipsu used the Nagarkata road.

Meanwhile, a DoR engineer said another Nu 120M would be allocated to improve the road condition.