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Damchu-Chhukha bypass was completed in July last year
Damchu-Chhukha bypass was completed in July last year

A year of roads and missed deadlines

The earth male dog year saw the completion of much-awaited projects. Overall, the road conditions and construction issues dominated the human settlement ministry.

Around May, the year saw His Majesty The King inaugurate the 77 kilometre (km) Gyalpoizhing-Nganglam highway. The construction of the highway began more than a decade ago which now connects Pemagatshel and Mongar. The highway is expected to help establish Kuri-Gongri hydropower project and Bondheyma industrial estate in Mongar besides benefiting the people of six dzongkhags in the east.

Another awaited project, the Damchu-Chhukha bypass completed in July. The construction had been on since 2010. The bypass shortened the distance between Thimphu and Phuntsholing by 19.2km.

After missing several deadlines, the year also saw the 175-metre Amochhu bridge open to traffic around July.

Despite achievements, roads were required to be maintained constantly especially, during monsoon. Officials of the Department of Roads (DoR) remained consistent in clearing blocks. However, an effective approach needs to be developed to make roads in mountains safer which would need collaborative efforts from other agencies.

The year saw all four political parties pledge to construct the Shingkhar-Gorgan road but there was no completion. About 20km of road has already been constructed.

Minister for works and human settlement ministry, Dorji Tshering said that there were 22 roads which were incomplete today.

The ministry during the annual agreement meeting around January presented 13 indicators which were at risk. The indicators included failure to meet gewog centre (GC) road constructions and blacktopping of highway and GC roads.  Fund constraints, unfavourable conditions and road stabilisation were some of the reasons which affected the ministry’s target to achieve 36.69km GC road and blacktopping 438.57km of GC roads.

The year also saw the launch of tenancy rules and regulation in May. It spells out procedures to settle tenancy disputes and monitoring issues. Meanwhile, the construction works for the southern east-west highway is likely to be continued in the 12th Plan.

Rinchen Zangmo

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