Haa Highway widening to take three more months- Project DANTAK

People travelling to Haa via the Chuzom-Haa Highway will still have to bear bumpy rides until spring next year going by what Project DANTAK is saying. The Project which has been carrying out the road widening and improvement works since 2018 missed both the initial completion deadline in 2021 and the extended deadline in July this year. People have been complaining about the slow progress of the work several times.

Due to the delay, people living along the 25-kilometre Bueltikha-Jyenkana stretch have been putting up with muddy conditions in summer and dust during dry seasons. Deep potholes and puddles are causing inconvenience to travellers. Works are completed only on around half of the stretch as of now.

“The contractor should start the work right away. We have been informing the Gewog office time and again about the delayed works and we still insist that the Gewog office should ask the stakeholders concerned to finish the work as soon as possible,” said Dophu, a resident of Bueltikha.

“The dust from the road settles in our home which makes it difficult for us to maintain hygiene. Moreover, the students who walk to school are catching cough and cold because of the dust,’’ said Dago Pem, a resident of Bueltikha.

“I can see that children are also affected. Their health conditions are being affected. I can see children having attendance problems. I think this road condition needs to be considered. So, if the government could look into this matter and then the road is blacktopped, this could be of great help,” said Tshewang Zangmo, a teacher at Bueltikha MSS.

Lhamo,  a shopkeeper in Bueltikha said, “Dusts enter our shops when vehicles pass by which settle on our groceries and food. Even the window glasses have to be cleaned now and then.”

According to Project DANTAK, blacktopping works could not start on the remaining stretches, as the contractors could not obtain the required clearance. The project has been citing the COVID-19 pandemic as having caused most of the disruption in their work.

Everything will be finished by December; all the culverts and other permanent work. And the contractor who is doing a bit of surfacing work, about a twenty-kilometre stretch, may extend up to March. So, if all goes well with him, he should complete it by March and we will have a fully blacktopped, double-lane road.” said Brigadier Jaswinder Singh, the Chief Engineer, Project DANTAK.

Despite the assurance from the project, people say it is likely that the road will not be ready by March next year.

Tshewang, Haa

Edited by Kipchu

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