Woman who blocked road agrees to deal

The road will be relocated in two month’s time

Land:  The Lokchina gewog connectivity (GC) road has opened to traffic on February 6.  The road that trespassed through a private land was deliberately blocked on the night of February 2 by the landowner.

The opening comes following the Phuentsholing dungkhag administration’s promise to relocate the GC road in two months time. The owner, Zangmo from Isuna, Paro agreed.

The GC road that starts at Bangay Bazaar developed in the 2011-2012 financial year connects Lokchina and Phuentsholing gewogs. However, gewog administration did not avail clearance from Zangmo when it was opened. The road goes right through her land affecting about 50 to 60 decimals.

After several failed attempts to get the attention of relevant officials, as claimed by Zangmo, she blocked about a 100-metre stretch of the road with boulders, gravel, and twigs at certain sections of the road. People from Lokchina and Phuentsholing gewogs used the alternate route that goes through a mining site for six days. The alternate route is about seven kilometres longer.

A committee was formed on February 4 to resolve the issue comprising officials from Phuentsholing thromde, dungkhag, Lokchina and Phuentsholing gewog, and the Department of Roads (DoR). Although 80 percent of the blockade was cleared on February 5, the committee failed to convince the woman and the road remained closed.

Zangmo, 57, alleged that the road was built without her consent. She had bought the 4.6 acres some 14 years ago.

“I had put up a written complaint,” Zangmo said, explaining the dungkhag office has also written to her. “They have promised to identify another route.’

Zangmo initially refused to give access through her land pointing out it was a loss to her to ignore the size of land that may go to waste. She said her livelihood depended on the land, as that’s all she owned.

She said that the road was built when she was admitted to a hospital in Vellore, Chennai for treatment sometime between 2011 and 2012 when the road was opened without getting “clearance” from her.

“I have tried to settle this matter but it has remained like this for the past four years now,” Zangmo said.

Zangmo also said that the road could have been built on government land nearby and not necessarily through her land.

The blocked area now opened for traffic falls under the Phuentsholing thromde. But the road falls under the gewog administration and is looked after by DoR.

Even if she is the owner of the land, officials said it was wrong to block the road without prior notice as many commuters were affected.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing

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