Nu 2.6bn utilized in Phase-I of the GSB project

Around 191 priorities farm roads are completed under the Phase I GSB project, while the remaining 10 projects are nearing being completed

Under Phase-I of the Granular sub-base (GSB) project, around Nu 2.6bn was utilized for 1550 km of farm roads, which, spreads over the 20 Dzongkhags and 201 Gewogs.

However, the GSB project was programmed in phases wise considering its huge resource requirement where under Phase I there are 201 farm roads and similarly under Phase II there are a total of 576 farm roads covering approximately 3,929 km with 2 to 3 farm roads per Gewog.

An official from Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) said that however, only the priority listing will be taken up for now. In the second and third priorities, there are 194 and 185 farm roads respectively. It will be taken up based on the performance of the priority works.

“Implementation of priority farm roads under Phase II was initiated in June 2022 with an allocated fund of around Nu 3.2bn and the project is expected to be completed by the end of the 12th FYP.”

Meanwhile, under Phase II, the official said that the works for a few farm roads have been awarded while the remaining farm roads are all under the tendering stage.

“Phase III consists of 1,539 farm roads identified which include all the remaining farm roads in the Gewogs,” an official said.

In addition, the GSB project is expected to improve market accessibility; communities will be encouraged to produce more towards import substitution and enhance the local economy.

Meanwhile, the local people were able to reduce travel time and the vehicles see less wear and tear, and convenience in terms of better accessibility is also reported in the road beneficiaries’ ability to ride to the market with their local produce, according to the official.

The official said that the local people and the communities were engaged in the improvement works for the GSB project and drainage construction, which had given the experience to the people in this area.

However, challenges such as unavailability of required materials on time, poor turn up from contractors in some places, competent contractors from participating in taking up more than one work, multiple lockdowns, and heavy monsoon made it difficult to continue working at the site.

The official from GNHC said that there is not much difference between the implementation of Phase I and II farm roads.

“However, from the experience of implementing farm road works under Phase I, Terms of Reference and Technical Specification Guidelines prepared by the technical line agencies have been shared with the local government administrations,” said the official.

Likewise, a joint assessment team composed of relevant officials from the technical line agencies was formed to undertake joint monitoring to assess and understand the quality of the GSB works.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu