Pemagatshel road irks commuters

Meanwhile, works on the road is expected to begin only by next year

It is just a trip of 25 kilometers from Tshelingkhor gate, the diversion point on Trashigang-Samdrup Jongkhar highway, to Pemagatshel town, but driving on this stretch has become treacherous for many commuters.

The commuters and residents are unhappy as the 25km road is riddled with multiple potholes and some stretches of the road are just bare with gravels and sands.

 Apart from having to face reckless truck drivers, commuters and residents say the road’s surface has disintegrated, is riddled with potholes and dusty. During summer, rain water accumulates in the potholes and the road also becomes prone to landslide.

Travelers say the road is in need of maintenance and resurfacing.

A resident of Pemagatshel, Sangay Dorji said the bad road conditions damaged their vehicles.

“Today we take more than an hour to reach Pemagatshel from Tshelingkhor gate. If the road condition was good, we could reach there in less than 30 minutes,” he added.

 A regular traveler, Kinga described that the road resembles a farm road.

“Some portions of the road have worsened due to soil eroding. It is muddy and difficult to drive,” he said, “The condition of the road has been deteriorated by trucks after the road was blacktopped. The road conditions are not good even in the town.”

However, the sub-division office of the Department of Roads in Pemagatshel is waiting for budget to begin improvement and widening works of the 36-kilometer road from Tshelingkhor gate to Khotakpa in Pemagatshel.

Principal engineer in Pemagatshel, Pema, said the office has put in budget requisition for road improvement for the last three years.

“It was, however, not approved and last year the budget has been approved for only 4-kilometer road near Khotakpa. The improvement of the Tshelingkhor-Khotakpa road is a priority in the 12th Plan. We are planning to carry out the widening works along the 36km road once the budget is approved,” the engineer said.

Meanwhile, following a survey, a detailed project report was also submitted to the ministry earlier and a budget of Nu 400mn has been estimated in the report.

Pema said once the widening works of the road and improvements are done, the road will be categorized under the secondary national highway.

According to road categories, roads under the secondary national highway have 8.5 meters formation width and 5.5 meters carriageway width.

“This width will fit two vehicles, but it wouldn’t be as comfortable as the primary national highway,” he said. “Re-pavement of the road and resurfacing will be done as part of the improvement of the road.” The engineer added that the budget is expected this year and accordingly work is expected to begin by next year.

Jigme Wangchen from Pemagatshel