The residents of Yuwakha in Barp Gewog in Punakha are tired of travelling on the road riddled with potholes every day. They want the farm road between the Punakha highway and Chhimi Lhakhang to be blacktopped.
Although the farm road is only around two kilometres long, it benefits not only the locals but also people from other districts visiting Chhimi Lhakhang. Hundreds of vehicles travel the farm road every day. Most of them are visiting the Lhakhang.
Believed to be blessed by the maverick saint Drukpa Kuenley, Chhimi Lhakhang is among some of the sacred places in Punakha.
People visit the Lhakhang to take refuge and offer prayers for the well-being of their children. Many Bhutanese, particularly women longing for children visit the Lhakhang to seek blessings. As a result, the farm road, constructed in 2009, is overused and its condition deteriorates.
“Unlike farm roads in other places, almost three hundred vehicles travel on our farm road. If the road is blacktopped, it would help in improving the road quality. Moreover, it will be convenient for people visiting the Chhimi Lhakhang,” said Rinchen Namgay, a resident of Barp Gewog.
While it has been paved with concrete, the road gradually developed potholes in most of the locations. It becomes muddy during summer and dusty in winter affecting the community almost throughout the year.
“Drivers could splash water and mud on pedestrians walking on the road,” said Kinley Wangdi, a resident of Barp Gewog.
“Elderly people and children suffer cough continuously due to the dust emerging from the road,” added Lotay, another resident.
Moreover, the narrow road poses the risk of an accident.
“We would appreciate it if the road is maintained before the arrival of tourists. Otherwise, it may not look good in their eyes. Moreover, there are also chances of discouraging tourists from visiting our community,” said Kaka, another resident of Barp Gewog.
The issue is expected to be resolved soon. A work plan to resurface and blacktop the road has been readied.
“We have allocated a budget from the current financial year. However, we couldn’t begin the work yet due to the onset of the monsoon season. Laying bitumen is not favourable in the rain. So, the blacktopping works will begin within a few months as soon as the monsoon is over,” said Barp Gup Passang.
Around Nu 7 M from the financial year, 2022-2023 has been allocated for the resurfacing works.
However, the Gup added, the gewog administration cannot expand the width of the road at the moment due to a lack of space.
Changa Dorji, Punakha
Edited by Phub Gyem