The long wait for the completion of the Jomotshangkha-Samrang highway in Samdrup Jongkhar continues. Started back in 2016, the slow progress has often frustrated the residents. While the road formation cutting was completed last year, the unstable road remains a risk to the commuters during the monsoon. Today, amid the border closure and the threat of the pandemic, residents of Jomotshangkha are forced to use the Indian highway to reach Samdrup Jongkhar.
The Jomotshangkha – Samrang internal highway is 58 kilometres long. According to the Department of Roads officials in Samdrup Jongkhar, project DANTAK has already laid a base course with gravel and soil on about 50 kilometres of the road.
However, the road is still risky because of the continuous blocks triggered by the heavy rainfall. The only option for the residents is to travel through the Indian highway to reach Samdrup Jongkhar by an escort.
But the residents are hopeful that they will soon be able to make use of the internal highway.
“Right now, the road is new and the condition is not so good. But with this road, Jomotshangkha, Lauri and Serthig Gewogs are connected internally. The condition will also slowly improve bringing in developmental activities here. The road is very important for this to happen,” said Bhakti Ram Rizal, in Jomotshangkha.
“With this road, it will be helpful to us since we can travel without any worries. Right now it is not always safe to travel by India because of strikes and all. We love to have an internal highway. it will benefit all the residents,” added Namdrel Zangpo, also in Jomotshangkha.
Residents also say they can take their cash crops such as oranges, ginger, and cardamom to Samdrup Jongkhar town whenever they like once the road becomes stable.
The Department of Roads says tendering of additional works on the road will be out by the next month. And hopefully, by next year, the wait for a smooth and safe ride will finally be over for the residents.
Kinley Wangchuk, Samdrup Jongkhar
Edited by Sonam