Local govts. want additional human resources for GC road takeover

As per the Cabinet directive in May this year, the Department of Roads (DoR) was asked to hand over the 205 GC roads to LG and DoR is working on the modalities

Most Gups across the country are positive that local government (LG) would be able to handle the construction, maintenance, and operation of gewog connectivity (GC) roads. However, they expressed doubts about adequate human resources (HR) to handle this additional mandate.

As per the Cabinet directive in May this year, the Department of Roads (DoR) was asked to hand over the 205 GC roads to LG and DoR is working on the modalities.

“Decentralization policy must descend to the grassroots whether you are capable or not and if DoR is working with the modality, there would not be any problem” said Trongsa Thrizin and Nubi Gup, Ugyen Tenzin.

Moreover, he said that the Royal Civil Service Commission has to think over the technical issue of placing an engineer and other human resources in each gewog.

“If the local government gives adequate facilities, it can attract those unemployed looking for jobs in urban areas,” said Ugyen Tenzin.

Additionally, he shared that the fiscal year budget for 2019-20 is already allocated and it is in the implementation process, however, there is no allocation of budget for the construction, maintenance, and operation of GC roads.

Trongsa Dzongkhag has an excavator and JCB for five gewogs and that would not be sufficient for maintaining GC roads, said Ugyen Tenzin. 

 “The government has allocated 50% budget for the LG and GC road construction, maintenance and operations,” said Thrizin and Deothang Gewog Gup, Samdrup Jongkhar, Leki Wangchuk.

Additionally, he said some of the GC roads are 15-20km long and that would take up a whole year’s budget infringing on other development activities as well.

Daga Gup, Wangduephodrang, Nado said the LG would be able to take over the GC road as there are a few new road constructions and large projects would be sub-contracted to DoR as per the procedure.

“The road connectivity is mostly beneficial for farmers selling their agricultural produce and with LG’s responsibility to take over GC roads, the outcome would be much better as there would be consultative meetings with the people of the gewogs,” he added.

However, Samtse Thrizin and Tendu Gewog Gup, Nima Dukpa said without adequate manpower, there would be problem in maintaining and operation of GC roads as some roads stretch to 15km. “DoR would be able to handle it better.”

Regarding the construction of new roads, he said there would not be problems as there are designated engineers for each gewog.

Although, the GC roads would be handed over to the LG, the construction and maintenance of roads can be sub-contracted to DoR.

DoR took over the GC roads from LG in 2014 as per the former government’s directives.

Of the total capital budget of Nu 100bn, 50% is allocated to LG and 50%  to the central government.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu