The Works and Human Settlement ministry is working on developing a new Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) to apply for an environment clearance certificate for the construction of Shingkhar-Gorgan road.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said this in response to Chhumig Ura, MP Tshewang Jurmi’s question on the current status and stage of the construction of the road at the national assembly’s question hour yesterday.  

MP Tshewang Jurmi said that the Shingkhar-Gorgan road was discussed and raised at the parliament numerous times. 

He said that the human settlement minister had said that the construction had begun and works would complete within 2017 – 2018. “Even in 9th session, the Prime Minister said that there were enough equipment and budget and the work had begun. But although this was said, people still complain about the lack of the road.”

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that today 20km of the Shingkhar-Gorgan road has been constructed, and work to build the remaining 36km stretch is yet to begin.

She said that National Environment Commission (NEC) has denied an environment clearance certificate due to old EIA report developed in 2012 and failure of an EIA report for the exact area. “NEC stated that the report has not studied the area properly as the assessment was done based on another area. We are asked to conduct the assessment again.”

Although working on a new EIA is resource and time consuming, the ministry, as directed by NEC is preparing for a new assessment, Lyonpo Dorji Choden said. 

Earlier the work was hindered after it failed to get a forest clearance to construct the road through the area. 

About 18km of the route passing through the area was identified as a core area where road construction was prohibited. 

Later, the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER) was instructed to conduct a research of the area. The study found that the area was a multi-use zone and not a core area. 

The ministry received the forest clearance in December 2016. 

Lyonpo Dorji Choden said that the Shingkhar-Gorgan road is part of the east-west highway. “We understand that the road is really important for the people.”

Phurpa Lhamo