Local leaders in Lhuentse asked if the government would be able to start the construction of Shingkhar-Gorgan road before their term ends.

The issue was discussed in the recent dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) session after Maetsho gup Gembo raised the issue.

He said locals even questioned agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji during his visit to Lhuentse. “Lyonpo claimed that the road construction would start soon.”

The gup, however, said that according to locals, the government could not avail an environment clearance from the National Environment Commission (NEC) and Thrumshingla National Park.

He said the government has to be specific whether they could construct the road or not since people are pressurising the local government officials. “While some have lost agriculture land to the road construction, many others are not happy as they are not getting black topped gewog centre (GC) road when other gewogs are.”

Gup Gembo also said that the government should fulfil their pledge in order to have the people’s faith and trust.

Jarey mangmi Kuenzangla said that although two governments were in power, the promised road construction never happened. “This road is basic infrastructure need for people of Lhuntse.”

He said the government has to choose between alleviating poverty and wildlife conservation. Kuenzangla said whenever there is a chiwog or gewog meeting, people complain about the road.

Meanwhile, the issue is not new. It was discussed in last year’s DT as well and they wrote to the government but did not receive any response.

The Department of Road’s (DoR) site engineer, Gallay, said the road construction failed to start because the government did not get an environment clearance from NEC and Thrumshing National Park.

He, however, said the works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden assured them the construction would begin soon.

The DT resolved to write to the government again.

Tashi Phuntsho | Lhuentse