Improving the Changchey-Tsirangtoed road was a priority of both party presidents during their visit to Tsirang district.
The road falls in the Sergithang–Tsirangtoed constituency, one of the two constituencies in the district, where PDP emerged on top during the primary round on May 31 with a margin of 87 votes. In the Kilkhorthang-Mendrelgang constituency, DPT came out ahead with an even slighter margin of 60 votes.
This is one district where the difference is so small it could go either way.
“We’ll improve and blacktop it, while new roads will be built to every chiwog,” the PDP president, Tshering Tobgay said during his visit last Friday.
“This road is hardly usable, but it wasn’t built during our tenure in government,” the DPT president Jigmi Y Thinley had said during his visit on June 21. “We’ll improve it and blacktop it, if our party comes into power.”
The narrow dirt road is steep with many very sharp turns and, when it rains in summer, it gets so slushy only four-wheel drive vehicles can cross through.
The road connects three gewogs of Tsirangtoed, Phuntenchu and Sergithang to Damphu town via Changchey.
Him Lal, 58, a Tsirangtoed resident, who attended the PDP president’s meeting, said they don’t feel safe on the road. “It’s always in fear we travel on this road and your safety is never guaranteed,” he said.
Dinanath, who has two vehicles plying Phuentenchu and Sergithang gewogs as public transport service, said the poor road condition often damaged his vehicles
“The service is running on loss, the road really needs to be improved,” he said.
He charges Nu 105 a passenger one way to reach them to Sergithang, 40km from Damphu town, and Phuentenchu which is about 35 km from Damphu town.
While most residents are happy that they will have a good road in the next few years, some residents like Zam, 70, of Tsirangtoed’s Sentabsa village, which is another two hours walk from the road point, are not convinced.
“This road was like that some nine years back and being able to get to town is a necessity to buy essentials,” she said.
She said, when using the road, her heart is full of fear until the vehicle reaches its destination. “I’m old, I don’t want to die in an accident. I want a peaceful death at home,” she said.
She attended the meetings of both the presidents and does not believe in what they had to say.
“None of them (presidents) visited us once before. They’re coming now for votes,” she said.
The road also lacks a bridge over the Changchey stream, which swells in summer and blocks the road.
A 2.6km bypass is under construction, so that vehicles do not need to drive through the river. The bypass is to be completed by July 10. The RCC bridge on the bypass over the Changchey stream was opened nine months ago before the bypass was cut.
By Tshering Namgyal, Tsirang