Thinley Namgay 

Residents of 75 households in Naro gewog, Thimphu, are yet to benefit from the gewog centre (GC) road, although the construction began in 2010.

As of today, about 27.3kms of the formation cutting is complete and works on the remaining 1.7kms is expected to complete by January next year.

In these last 10 years, road construction management changed three times.

Thimphu dzongkhag began the construction but the Department of Roads (DoR) took over the work when the former government mandated it to execute all GC road constructions. Dzongkhag handed over the construction again to the DoR last year to complete the remaining 6kms formation cutting work from Yuetse to Barshong.

Of the 6km, 4.3kms were completed and only 1.7kms of work is left to reach Barshong, where the gewog is currently located.

Officials claim that harsh geographical terrain, climatic conditions and financial constraints caused the delay in the construction of the 29kms GC road.

According to the dzongkhag planning officer, Pema Tenzin, DoR indicated that the department need more budget to complete the road. “We will have to discuss the matter with DoR.”

As per DoR’s work done and expenditure report, the expected budget for the road is Nu 270.928M for formation cutting, earthen drain, PCC drain and precast drain, soiling, base course, blacktopping, gradient correction and RC pipe installation.

It stated that Nu 94.899M was spent as of June 2019 for formation cutting of 23kms, constructing earthen drain for 21kms, PCC drain for 7.7kms, soiling for 22kms and base course for 8.66kms.

Budget estimate for 2019-2020 is Nu 74. 44M for target activities such as formation cutting of 6kms, precast drain for 10kms, soiling for 7kms and base course for 10km and 150m RC pipe. As of now, formation cutting for 4.3kms, soiling for 3.6kms, and earthen drain for 3.6kms were completed.

Meanwhile, Naro’s Gup Wangchuk said that the road was supposed to be completed within a year of the initial construction year.

He said that people are, however, happy that the formation cutting is almost complete. “There are eight people working at the site, consisting of machine operators and helpers.”

Naro gewog has 310 residents. Villagers say highlanders of Lingzhi and Soe will also benefit from the road, as transportation of goods will become cheaper and travel time will be reduced.