The ministry has cautioned people of upper Wamling in Zhemgang to resolve their differences if they want the road to be constructed

Roads: Following the works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden’s instruction to prioritise budget for access road to Lampong, construction of the 11.5 kilometers Shingkhar gewog center road (GCR) in Zhemgang is expected to continue without impediments from the villagers of upper Wamling.

The resolution from meetings with dzongkhag administration and local leaders urged the dzongkhag to resolve the problems with people of upper Wamling immediately. The issue was discussed during lyonpo Dorji Choden’s recent visit to Reutala and Box Cutting.

“There is also directive from the government to even call off the works if the construction of roads are muddled in disputes,” the resolution quoted the minister.

According to the meeting’s resolution, Zhemgang dzongdag Harka Singh Tamang and Shingkhar gup Needup appealed to the ministry, not to annul the GCR construction since it’s termination would affect the entire gewog.

“Despite lacking budget for farm road construction in the 11th Plan, to resolve the issue, the dzongkhag would try to avail budget for construction of access road to Lampong,” the dzongdag had said.

Dzongkhag engineer, Kintu said budget would be managed from the current financial year.

The GCR issue cropped up again when villagers of upper Wamling on August 19 wrote to the Department of Roads (DoR) and dzongkhag administration to either start constructing the access road or the construction of GCR would be stopped through protests once again.

“If the access road isn’t constructed, the GCR construction would be stopped when it reaches Geringphu,” the letter, which was also forwarded to the ministry cautioned.

Shingkhar GCR has been caught up in barriers at least four times with villagers from Thrisa and Wamling trying to divert the alignment through their respective villages. By 2014 fall, upper Wamling had stopped the GCR construction when it reached Wongbugang.

In December 2014, the former MoWHS secretary and its DoR director resolved the deadlock with upper Wamling villagers with a commitment to construct an access road until Lampong instead of realigning the GCR through their village as demanded.

The villagers had brought the construction to a halt for weeks demanding realignment of the road through upper Wamling.

“If villagers can resolve the land issue amicably and manage social and environmental clearance for construction of road through wetland, the road could be constructed further, until Shingkharchu from Lampong,” the letter from the secretary stated.

The ministry in the meantime was trying to mobilise budget for the construction of Lampong access road. However, following budget constrains, the ministry couldn’t mobilise an estimated Nu 9.49 million fund for the road.

The road hit another problem in March when the gewog wrote to the DoR asking to mobilise expatriate workers for villages could no longer meet the labour requirement for the construction. DoR had to plan to contract out the remaining 5.4 kilometers span of the road.

“The works had to be continued departmentally since contracting was incurring additional cost and time,” an engineer from regional office in Tingtibi said.

Today, the trace cutting has reached Shingkharchu with just over three kilometers left to reach the gewog center in Shingkhar.

“If works continue without impediments, the road is expected to reach Shingkhar by the end of the year,” the engineer said.

Meanwhile, the ministry has also directed the gewog administration to inform the people of upper Wamling about the dire consequences of impeding the GCR construction again.

Tempa Wangdi, Zhemgang