It is as if our roads get hit by massive objects from faraway galaxies on a daily basis. Look around and there are potholes that could well be craters.
Let’s take Thimphu as an example. The roads in the capital city are no better than those in the rural pockets of the country from where we get the news of poor road conditions every now and then. One can see patching being done on one side and digging on the other. It never ends. No one is held responsible for destroying the roads. Bad roads are a leading cause of accidents.
Look at our plans, and all’s exquisitely good. About Nu 6 billion is allocated to the road sector to enhance road connectivity and reliability and to ensure commuter’s safety by double-laning the national highways, dzongkhag roads, gewog connectivity (GC) roads and bridges in the country. No less than Nu 310.121 million is allocated for regular maintenance of roads and bridges.
Why are our roads so bad still?
There could be only two possibilities: We are bad planners and we are bad monitors. If anyone can dig through the roads for their convenience, there will of course be potholes. If we don’t care how resurfacing is done and who is doing it, the quality of our roads will naturally suffer. Initiatives are being made to improve drainage system, which is considered one of the leading causes that affect the roads. But more needs to be done.
Good network of roads and bridges is important in facilitating smooth delivery of socioeconomic services in the country. That’s why special priority was accorded to the road sector in the 11th Plan. The fact is that whenever there is heavy rain, our roads, particularly in the rural parts of the country, are so badly damaged that they cannot be used. Blame shifts from one office to other, one person to other. That’s been the game so far.
It may be time we figured where we are falling short. There is a need to identify policy, planning and implementation gaps before filling the ruts that riddle our roads. We cannot afford to let the little resource we have go in vain.