Accident: Khoma gup Sither Tshering, who was detained by police for alleged possession of explosives, said that he used the explosives for the benefit of the community.

The gup was arrested on December 12 after the explosives he used to clear a farm road in Phangkhar Toed injured two commuters on November 3.

The gup also claims that he was not aware that there were any rules in place that forbade gewog officials from using explosives for community benefit. “Until now, no one came to create awareness among the gewog officials that we are not allowed to use leftover explosives.”

Gup Sither Tshering said that he used the explosives to clear a boulder that blocked the farm road. The explosives were leftovers from a stock used to construct a farm  road to Khoma Dung. “There were some leftover explosives and the gewog used it to clear the roadblock here,” he said.

He added that procuring explosives is a lengthy process, as they have to put up an order and also send a supply order. “To save time, we used the leftover explosives.”

He explained that completion of the Phangkhar Toed farm road construction is among one of the targets set for gewog officials by the government.

The gup explained that he kept two people to watch out for commuters and warn them about the explosives on the short-cut people usually use. However, that day the people injured had opted for the longer way.

Jampel, 50, is one of the two men police detained along with the gup in connection to the incident. He said he went to help the gup since he did not have work that day.

He said he was assigned to warn people of the explosion and that he had shouted out a warning. “I did not see any people commuting.”

The four people using the road saw the explosive cables on the road but they assumed it would be for a future explosion. “We were close when it exploded,” a victim, Jigme Tenzin, 29, said. He sustained injuries below the ears and had to have two stitches.

Jigme Tenzin works as an excavator driver and he said he went to meet his friend since his machine was out of fuel that day. He said he didn’t expect they would clear the road that day.

Meanwhile, the gup, who is on bail, said the gewog used the gewog development grant to construct the Phangkhar Toed farm road.

Tashi Phuntsho | Lhuentse