Limited budget to blacktop Kharbandi-Pasakha road

Though the Kharbandi- Pasakha road leading to the country’s biggest industrial estate, Pasakha has been in terrible condition for years, the Department of Roads (DoR) has received only Nu 20mn for maintenance which will cover two kilometers of the road.

DoR’s Chief Engineer, Dorji Wangdi said that with the budget allocated they can only do so much.

DoR has floated the tender for the work and two contractors have applied. The department is assessing the documents. Dorji Wangdi said that the work will begin from next month after awarding the contract.

Kharbandi to Pasakha road is considered a vital lifeline for the villagers of Samphelling gewog and residents of Pasakha Industrial Estate. However, currently, the road is in shambles giving commuters a tough time.   As hundreds of light and heavy duty vehicles ply through the road, multiple blocks and the unpaved road have become a nightmare for the drivers. The 11km road needs immediate attention. The road was also used as an alternative highway in the summer of 2016 when a landslide affected the primary highway in Kamji, 23km from Phuentsholing.

A driver who uses the road said that the condition of the road has led to increased fuel and maintenance costs. Also, he said that dust during winter and muck during summer has shortened the lifespan of his vehicle. He uses his bolero daily on the road. “People hate to drive on this road. But, there is no alternative,” he said.  Multiple landslides along the road have eroded the bitumen causing the need for blacktop again. The road is also being used by heavy vehicles for ferrying goods to and from Pasakha Industrial Estate. Almost hundreds of such trucks ply on the road daily.

Blacktopping of road from Bahunijhora till Bhalujhora-around a two kilometer stretch is complete. Also, a new bridge over Bhalujhora has replaced the old one.  However, the road at Bahunijhora still remains bad after the multicellular culvert was damaged by debris. The road remains blocked during monsoon frequently.

Dorji Wangdi said that blacktopping of the two kilometer stretch on the Kharbandi-Pasakha road would take around three months. DoR has plans to complete maintenance of the 43km stretch from Kharbandi till Manitar. “But with limited budget, we have to downsize our target,” he said. Dorji Wangdi said that the work will continue once the government releases the budget. The road was last blacktopped in 2015 till Pasakha.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing