English | Dzongkha Friday, May 29, 2020

Shingkhar-Gorgan bypass, When?

Sonam Tshering, Lhuentse
Jul 30, 2019

“During the election campaign, the political parties did not mention anything about budget constraints or environmental issues. They pledged as if they had enough budget to start the work. Some even said that they could revise the National Environment Commission Act.

“But once they got elected, forget about revising the act, they are full of excuses. They were aware of the challenges already,” said Sithar Tshering, the gup, of Khoma Gewog, Lhuentse.

Local leaders and people of Lhuentse are not happy with the government delaying the Shingkhar-Gorgan bypass construction. They say the pledge to see the project through has remained as a tool to gain political mileage.

Since the inception of the project, the Shingkhar-Gorgan bypass has been a common agenda at every Dzongkhag Tshogdu session. Resolutions have been submitted accordingly to the works and human settlement ministry. But to this day, the planned highway remains only on paper.

During the second session of the third parliament, the Works and Human Settlement minister Dorji Tshering reasoned environmental issues and financial implications for the project’s holdup.

“After watching the Question Hour session of the National Assembly, we understand that the Shingkhar-Gorgan highway was delayed due to limited budget and National Environment Commission’s Act. But if the highway comes through, it would not only benefit the people and business community of Lhuentse but also the people of four eastern districts,” said Kinzang Minjur, the gup of Jarey, Lhuentse.

“We were hopeful when the political parties pledged to pave the Shingkhar-Gorgan highway. We thought it was genuinely in the interest of the general public. We didn’t know they were pledging it just to garner votes during the election. They didn’t have to do that if it was just for the sake of promising. Even the National Council candidates pledged the same. Talking about the possibilities, they mentioned of constructing tunnels. Today, all we can do is hope that the bypass will be constructed,” added Kinzang Thinley, from Jarey.

The minister, during the sitting, also mentioned an upcoming alternative route between Lhuentse and Bumthang via Tsamang, which will reduce the distance between the two places by 40 km.

“The alternative route between Dorjilung and Yongkola is a farm road. It will not benefit the people of Lhuentse or the eastern districts. It will, however, be of advantage for the people of Tsamang gewog,” said Namgay Wangchuk, from Khoma.

Meanwhile, the delay in the construction of Shingkhar-Gorgan highway deferred the road widening works for Gangola-Lhuentse highway. It also prolonged the blacktopping of Maedtsho Gewog centre road.

Had the project been through, then, the distance between Lhuentse and Bumthang would have reduced by 100 km.

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