Lhakpa Quendren

GELEPHU — The four-lane road leading to the vegetable market shed from the main road of the border gate in Gelephu town has become a source of confusion for newcomers.

The road’s inaccurate direction markings have left motorists perplexed, prompting concerns about safety and traffic accidents in the vicinity.

Initially, Gelephu Thromde implemented a smooth flow of two-way vehicle traffic on the upper lane and introduced a queuing system on the other double lane, with a designated taxi stand, providing much-needed parking spaces for other vehicles.

However, upon the request of the Gelephu Taxi Association, the queuing system was removed, and the roadsides were transformed into parking spaces. Unfortunately, the road markings were not adjusted accordingly, leading to confusion and inconvenience, especially for those unfamiliar with the area.

Taxi operators, who had pushed for the removal of the queuing system, now find themselves facing the unintended consequences of the unchanged markings. They say that drivers new to Gelephu often follow the outdated directions, leading to parking in inappropriate spots, and imposing fines on these unsuspecting motorists may not be fair.

Residents and commuters alike express deep concern about the safety risks and potential accidents stemming from the neglect of relevant authorities.

A recent incident involving an Indian vehicle mistakenly following the incorrect markings and encountering oncoming traffic raised alarm bells.

Critics point out the lack of responsibility and accountability, calling for immediate action to rectify the situation.

According to reliable sources, the thromde administration’s lack of co-ordination with relevant stakeholders during the design and implementation of road and markings is evident, as traffic recommendations were not adequately considered.

Traffic police, tasked with ensuring road safety, have faced challenges in their duties due to the persisting incorrect markings. Their efforts to convince the thromde office to address the issue have so far been fruitless, leading to growing frustration.

The region’s construction and transport authority, which was involved in recommending the initial parking markings, has distanced itself from the subsequent stages of the project. This lack of communication has contributed to the current state of confusion.

Gelephu Thrompon Tshering Norbu said that the road issue will be resolved once the ongoing vegetable market construction is completed. “The road marks were as per the plan and the road will be used as per the markings. Since the road is old, we somehow faced some issues during practical use.”

“The old markings are not removed as it is permanent marking and removing it will damage the blacktopping. So, the office has left it to fade on its own,” he said.

In addition to the incorrect markings, residents and commuters have also expressed worries about flowers and overgrown plants between the double lane roads within the thromde zones and large trees standing along urban roads, posing additional safety risks.

However, Thrompon Tshering Norbu said that while thromde is cutting the grasses weekly, it is a challenging task to clear the plants and trees due to budget constraints and human resource shortages in addition to the large area of thromde.

“The growth of those grasses is faster than we could cover. Nevertheless, we cut weekly and we try our best to maintain the city clean and clear despite many shortages we face,” he said.