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Pasakha-Darla bypass road begs for repair

 

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.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing