Chimi Dema | Tsirang

Citing deteriorating road condition of Sergithang-Burichhu bypass in Tsirang, which was laid with granular sub-base (GSB) last year, gewog officials said the bypass should be blacktopped.

Raising the issue in the recent dzongkhag tshogdu (DT), Sergithang gup, Man Bir Rai, said if blacktopping is done at the earliest, it would save cost which is otherwise spent on laying more GSBs in the future besides improving the road.

He said that since the dzongkhag administration laid GSB and improved the road last year, at least 50 vehicles ply through the 9.4km bypass every day. “If blacktopped, the road is expected to improve livelihoods of villagers of four gewogs.”

According to the gup, with the gewog focusing on agriculture, many farmers take their farm produces to market in Wangdue, Punakha and Thimphu. “The bypass from Burichhu to Sergithang shortens a distance by 75km and saves travel time by almost three hours.”

He said blacktopping the road would add benefits to the farmers.

A commercial farmer in Tsirangtoed, San Man Subba, who usually supplies vegetables and dairy products to Wangdue and Punakha said that it was difficult to ply through the road during summer as the road becomes slippery and ridden with potholes.

“Only vehicles with four-wheel drive could ply on it in summer,” he said. “If the road could be blacktopped soon, it would benefit farmers like us.”

San Man Subba use the road at least four times a week.

Gewog mangmi, Monorath Sanyasi, said the bypass is almost a highway for them as residents commuting from Sergithang, Phuentenchhu, Tsirangtoed and Semjong to Wangdue use the road.

He said that the road condition would worsen during summer if it is not blacktopped. “We have laid GSB twice so far. The first one was done in 2017,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DT decided to forward the request to works and human settlement ministry.

Gup Man Bir Rai said that they would also submit budget proposal to Gross National Happiness Commission. Blacktopping the bypass is estimated to cost about Nu 27.50M.

The bypass road was constructed in 2016.