Thinley Namgay

The Department of Roads (DoR) will conduct a three-day training starting today for road inspectors to enhance issues related with the violations of roads rules and regulations.

A total of 18 inspectors from the nine regional offices will participate in the training to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations to tackle the issue more “responsively”.

The training is in line with the DoR’s plan to ensure effective implementation of the rules and regulations and set up strict monitoring and supervision through its regional offices around the country.

DoR’s Director-General, Tenzin, said that there was no human resource constraint to tackle the problem. “DoR mainly monitors the national highways. It is difficult for the inspectors to inspect daily, but the department will make sure that they do it at least once a week.”

However, the lack of implementation of rules and regulations by the public, he said, was the major challenge.

The DoR will start a ticket system by calculating the cost of damaged parts. That means the defaulter have to pay the fines as prescribed in the ticket. The department will entertain those who wish to repair it without paying fines. However, failing to obey either option will undergo court proceeding.

“In the past, we just asked the defaulter to repair the damaged parts without levying any fines,” said Tenzin.

The department has observed the rise in violation of the rules along the highways and other roads in the country which is against the Road Act of Bhutan 2013 and the Roads Rules and Regulations of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2016.

The common violations as per the DoR are illegal construction within the road right of the way, construction of access and other roads not in conformity with the agreed terms and conditions. The other violations are logging and quarrying activities damaging the road and dumping of construction and other wastes along the highways.

Director-General said that such violations were common in all the dzongkhags. “Department is worried about the safety of the commuters, sustainability of the road and its aesthetics. People do not follow the rules despite constant reminders.”

As per the DoR, if people do not maintain 50ft on either side of the highways while constructing houses, it is illegal owing to vulnerability to accident and posing a danger to the safety of residents and other people.

People must also get approval from the DoR if they want to pave access road towards their home from the existing highways or farm roads. While permitting, DoR sets certain mandate such as maintaining proper drainage and walls wherever necessary.

“But some do it without permission posing landslide threats and others,” said Tenzin.

Almost 3,000km of roads are under the DoR’s supervision at present.

Gewog centres roads and farm roads are looked after by the dzongkhag and gewog administrations. Thromde roads are under the respective thromde’s supervision.