Except for Chhudzom, all gewogs in Sarpang will have blacktopped gewog connectivity (GC) roads by the end of the 11th Plan, according to the regional chief engineer of roads department CB Monger. 

While the government has pledged to blacktop all GC roads by the end of this Plan, Chhudzom gewog GC road would be blacktopped only in the 12th Plan. 

The government, last year said that it would complete about 157 GC roads by the end of its term this year. 

Works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden had then said that five GC roads were new construction and could not be blacktopped.

The 12 gewogs altogether have roads stretching 98.835km. Of that, 54.335km will be blacktopped by June this year. 

CB Monger said that the gewog’s 48km road was newly constructed. The technical institute in Chokhorling blacktopped 3.5km of the road joining the Thimphu-Gelephu highway. 

“The budget for the road exceeds the ceiling which is why it is left for the next plan,” CB Monger said. 

To blacktop a kilometer of GC road, the DoR office gets Nu 2.9 million. This budget has to cover drains, base course, blacktopping, and in some cases even widening, among others. 

The regional DoR office needs at least Nu 129 million to blacktop the remaining Chhudzom gewog road. 

The gewog connectivity roads are funded by the Government of India under the small development projects (SDP). The funding has some conditions and doesn’t cover roads that are less than 1.5km or those that cost more than Nu 50 million. 

“That’s why we have to manage the budget for the three gewog connectivity roads of Samtenling, Dekiling, and Shompangkha from savings of other infrastructure building works,” he said. 

He said that his office had managed to save about Nu 7 million (M) including the Nu 5M from the Sisty Bridge in Sengye gewog and other contract works,” he said. 

CB Monger said that his office would award works this week for the three gewogs. Samtenling GC road is 1.33km, Shompangkha road is 0.27km and the Dekiling GC road is 1.5km. 

Singye gewog’s 9.5km GC road was completed last week, and Gakiling gewog road is only 85 metres. 

Of the four gewogs across Mao river only Serzhong gewog road is incomplete. “The monsoon flood last year had washed away a huge portion of the road and the ministry’s committee decided to extend the contract period by three months ending in June,” CB Monger said.  

Tshering Palden |Sarpang