Residents of Trashiyangtse will have to wait for few more years before widening work on the Duksum-Yangtse highway begins.

Local leaders during the third Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) on August 17 expressed resentment against the failure of Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited’s (KHEL) to begin widening work at the highway.

Since the commencement of the project about two years ago, the quiescent dzongkhag has become a bustling town today. Along with a steady expansion of population, traffic has also doubled in recent years.

Khamdang gup, Norbu, said, that the widening work has been long overdue. The road condition worsens during monsoon, causing threat to life and property.

“This has become one of the most urgent requirements of the dzongkhag today. With increasing traffic, the existing narrow road must be widened as soon as possible,” Norbu said. “The project (KHEL) during the second DT session agreed to take over the widening work from Duksum to Yangtse. Nothing has been done so far.”

KHEL’s joint managing director, Kencho Dorji, couldn’t provide a specific date as to when the widening work could begin. He said that lack of fund for the widening work has resulted in the delay.

Kencho Dorji said that the existing highway is not wide enough for large machines and vehicles once the main project work begins. “Since the Department of Roads (DoR) doesn’t have budget in this fiscal year for the widening work, it is on us to carry on the work.”

The DOR has estimated about Nu 872 million (M) for the 44km widening work from Chazam to Trashiyangtse. Kencho Dorji said that about Nu 415M would have to come from KHEL.

“We have around Nu 80M which is not enough for us to begin the work. If we are to start the work, we have to do it properly to avoid problems in future,” he said.

The joint managing director added that considering the urgent need for a wide road before the initiation of the main project work such as construction of the dam, surge shaft and powerhouse among others, the project has taken up the matter with it’s board.

“Although there has been no concession on the amount of fund yet, we will begin the work as soon as we get the fund,” he said.

However, Khamdang gup, Norbu Norbu said that the project agreed to begin the widening work during the second session of the DT. “This is the third session and they still cannot give us a date,” he said. “I don’t think they would be starting the work any sooner. This is very unfortunate.”

Meanwhile, the DoR has started the widening work along the 14km stretch from Chazam to Doksum.

Younten Tshedup |  Trashiyangtse