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A car gets stuck while crossing the stream at Baunijhora
A car gets stuck while crossing the stream at Baunijhora

Roadblock strands hundreds of trucks in Pasakha

More than 200 trucks of Pasakha industrial estate have been stuck and immovable due to the roadblock at Bhalujhora since the morning of July 4.

The trucks are queued on the road from both sides of Pasakha.

A huge landslide near the Bhalujhora bridge has caused this blockage.

The Baunijhora stream has also swollen and stopped private vehicles from passing.

Despite the difficulty, vehicles were still trying to cross, while people wade through the Baunijhora stream.

Programme officer with the Association of Bhutanese Industries (ABI), Pema Namgyel Ghaley, said the industries’ plant operations have been adversely affected.

“Raw materials are not able to reach the factories,” he said. “Trucks are also not able to move from the industries.”

Pema Namgyel Ghaley said the revenue from Pasakha industrial estate is among the highest and it is about time the concerned agencies give priority to the industrial site development.

In 2015, two projects to construct bridges over Baunijhora and Bhalujhora were awarded under the SASEC project. However, the works did not materialise, as the contractor failed to comply with the targets and got terminated.

Currently, three construction firms, including the Construction Development Corporation Limited are working on the bridges and a gabion wall construction.

“Although ABI appreciates the commencement of this SASEC project and its progress, it should also be noted that this issue has been going on unresolved for the past few years,” ABI’s programme officer said.

The worsening road and bridge condition not only impacts the operation of the industries’ plants and its sustainability but also puts the lives of commuters and people at risk, the programme officer said.

“The safety of the employee is a major concern to industries due to such repetitive landslides,” Pema Namgyel Ghaley said. “Many employees have also not reported to their respective offices due to the road condition and the swelling of the river.”

Meanwhile, at Bhalujhora, where the landslide had occurred, Pasakha residents are speculating that the Bhutan Power Corporation tower above the landslide area would collapse if it rained again.

However, the rain subsided yesterday.

With the road blocked at both Baunijhora and Bhalujhora, people walked a distance of about one km between these two streams. Taxis were available at the Baunijhora side towards Phuentsholing.

A Pasakha resident, Deki Wangmo, 28, crossed the stream yesterday with her five months old son.

“I am taking him to the hospital for routine checkups,” she said. “I have to take the risk.”

Another Pasakha resident, Nima Dema Tamang, said it would be difficult for people to get rations if the roads are not cleared.

“It has already become difficult to travel,” she said, after crossing the Baunijhora stream.

Another resident, Sonam Jamtsho, said such problem occurs annually for the people of Pasakha.

He said the timely completion of the bridges over Baunijhora and Bhalujhora was important.

In June this year, the bridge had partially collapsed and a temporary Bailey bridge was placed. The other end of the bridge is also weakening and the level of the bridge has repressed.

Pema Namgyel Ghaley said their office is coordinating and working to clear the roads soon. Excavation equipment was also deployed for support.

Rajesh Rai | Pasakha

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