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Local Govt. in SJ sceptical of taking over GC roads from DoR

Sep 18, 2019

The Local Government (LG) in Samdrup Jongkhar is sceptical of taking over the gewog centre (GC) roads from the Department of Roads (DoR). Local leaders said the district lacks the expertise to look after the GC roads. The issue was discussed at the Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) yesterday. 

The cabinet in May this year issued a directive that the LG would be responsible for the construction, maintenance and operation of GC roads.

During the DT, some members pointed out that most of the GC roads in the district are in need of major maintenances and it will be difficult for LG to carry out the works.

“Government did not conduct any consultation meetings with us, they directly ordered us to take over the GC roads. We are worried because without road engineers it will be difficult to maintain the quality of the road,” Guman Singh Geylal, the Langchenphu Gup, said.

“Along with GC roads, if DoR could hand over the budgets with engineers and labourers to LG then only we will be able to maintain GC roads,” Tempa Gyeltshen, the Lauri Gup, said.

“From 8th August, the DoR has stopped working on GC roads and villagers who have been working under them also had to leave their job. I think it is not fair for the workers as well,” Sangay Wangchuk, the Martshala Gup, said.

According to the district administration, a letter was written to the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) saying that LG would not be able to look after the GC roads. However, they got the response saying it was decided by the cabinet.

At present, the district administration and DoR are working on the procedure of handing taking of the GC roads.

“Right now most of the GC roads need maintenances, we are in the process of estimating the maintenance costs. We will request expertise from DoR until we are comfortable to take over the GC  roads,” Tharchin Lhendup, the SJ Dzongda, said.

He added that the decision to hand over GC roads to LG is part of the decentralisation.

There are about 118 kilometres of GC roads in Samdrup Jongkhar. The DoR took over GC roads from LG in 2014.

Kinley Wangchuk

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