Pasakha-Darla by­pass road begs for re­pair

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Kr­ishna Ghal­ley from Phuentshol­ing

The Pasakha-Darla by­pass road that con­nects the In­dus­trial es­tate of Pasakha to Darla serves as an im­por­tant life­line for more than five vil­lages of Darla and Sam­phelling gewogs. It has also come to the res­cue many times, es­pe­cially for com­muters and ve­hi­cles ma­neu­ver­ing from Phuentshol­ing to Thim­phu and vice-versa.

How­ever, the de­plorable by­pass road to­day is des­per­ately beg­ging for re­pair. The drains and cul­verts along the road have been dam­aged and the black­top has also worn out in most parts. Many parts of the road pose chal­lenges for ve­hi­cles to ma­neu­ver.

Vil­lagers say that the road needs to be black­topped so that they can travel and trans­port goods with­out prob­lems.

The road main­tained by the De­part­ment of Roads (DoR), Works and Hu­man Set­tle­ment Min­istry, fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of con­struc­tion by DANTAK, is used by the vil­lagers for al­most all mo­tor ve­hi­cle re­lated works. From emer­gen­cies to ferry es­sen­tial com­modi­ties from the mar­ket, the road is also used to trans­port cash crops from the vil­lages to the mar­ket.

“The road has been an im­por­tant link for us since its com­ple­tion. We have been us­ing this road in ev­ery pos­si­ble way. It has served a very good pur­pose,” a vil­lager from Dhungeyna, Chan­dra Bdr. said.

The vil­lagers grow cash crops like car­damom, or­anges and ginger, which are trans­ported to Phuentshol­ing mar­ket us­ing the same road. With­out farm road con­nec­tions or other ac­cess roads, the by­pass road has also helped the vil­lagers dur­ing emer­gen­cies.

A vil­lager, Nima Sherpa, has just re­turned from Phuentshol­ing hos­pi­tal af­ter his daugh­ter in-law availed med­i­cal treat­ment. He is thank­ful that they have a road. “Oth­er­wise, I have to reach Jumja and route through Darla to reach here,” he said.

Mean­while, the rough road, which was once black­topped, is also be­ing used by heavy trucks to ferry quartzite from quartzite mine in Pakchina. More than 50 trip­per-trucks ply on the road ev­ery day.

Amar Singh Mon­gar, a driver, said the road has be­come a short-cut route to reach Pasakha from the min­ing site.

“But the qual­ity of the road if im­proved would ben­e­fit ev­ery user from vil­lagers to the driv­ers. Our main­te­nance charge es­ca­lates while ply­ing on this road,” he said.

Mean­while, the road is also be­ing used by the Dhun­gayna Pakchina Gonor Det­shen, a dairy co­op­er­a­tive to ferry milk daily to Pasakha. A Maruti van trav­els al­most 20 kilo­me­ters twice a day.

“The road is help­ing us a lot. We could sell our milk and dairy prod­ucts us­ing this road,” Nima Sherpa, the chair­man of the co­op­er­a­tive said. He is, mean­while, look­ing for­ward to us­ing a black­topped road.

“It would add to the charm for us driv­ing peace­fully with­out much traf­fic conges­tion un­like na­tional high­ways,” he said.

Mean­while, the road has also served as an al­ter­na­tive route dur­ing the sum­mer of 2016 when the road at Kamji was blocked by land­slide. All ve­hi­cles in­clud­ing pub­lic trans­port used the road for more than a month.

DOR’s Chief En­gi­neer in Phuentshol­ing, Dorji Wangdi said the de­part­ment has planned to black­top the road and has pro­posed for the bud­get. But the de­part­ment is yet to re­ceive the bud­get. Also, the de­part­ment has planned to widen the road.

“We have been propos­ing for the bud­get. But we are yet to re­ceive,” he said. The de­part­ment is hope­ful that they would get the bud­get dur­ing the early pe­riod of the 12th Plan.

“Then we will ex­e­cute the work im­me­di­ately,” the Chief En­gi­neer said.

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