Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Pilgrims visiting the Guru Rinpoche statue at Takila in Lhuentse can soon expect a smooth ride along the once pothole-riddled winding road between Thinleypang and Takila after its maintenance is complete.

During his recent visit to the gewog, the public of Maenbi gewog pleaded to Lyonchen Dr Lotay Tshering who verbally committed to addressing the public grievance.

The budget for the resurfacing of the road is approved now. “Our request will finally be answered and we are anticipating a smooth ride soon,” a civil servant residing at Tangmachhu, Zangpo, said.

The officials from the Department of Roads regional office at Lingmethang confirmed that Nu 35 million has been approved to resurface the entire 15km stretch.

The Chief Engineer Kinzang Dorji said the tender for the work has already been floated and it is currently in the contract signing stage with the contractor. He said the resurfacing work would commence soon and is expected to take seven months and is scheduled to be completed by June 2023.

A tourist driver, Dorji, said although the tourists were happy and satisfied once they reach the giant statue the poor road condition on the entire stretch leaves a bad impression. “The road badly needs maintenance.”

A taxi driver from Mongar who frequently takes local pilgrims on a round trip to Takila said the 15-km stretch which used to take half an hour now takes more than an hour as the car can’t be driven beyond second gear. “Besides it also causes huge wear and tear to vehicles.”

Given the need, the issue was also discussed several times in the Gewog Tshogde and further discussed in the Dzongkhag Tshogdu but nothing has been done so far.

Maenbi gup, Ngawang Dhendrup, said that it has been more than six years since the road has been without maintenance and it was high time to improve given the high traffic because of the guru statue and other religious sites.

Although no record has been maintained, he said every pilgrim who visited historic Singye Dzong makes a point to visit the Guru statue which remains open all the time besides international tourists and resurfacing would impact grandly.

Ngawang Dhendrup said the improved road would also benefit the people of Maedtsho gewog as there is a plan to lay Granular Sub-Base (GSB) on the connecting road between Maenbi and Maedtsho gewog, which would shorten the distance to go to dzongkhag administration.