Roadblock at Bhalujhora to be cleared today

The road to Pasakha which was blocked by a mudslide at Bhalujhora is being cleared since yesterday.

The Department of Roads (DoR) and the Association of Bhutanese Industries (ABI) have deployed four excavators to clear the blockade. It is expected that the blockade would be cleared and would be open to traffic today.

The massive slide, which occurred near the Bhalujhora bridge and caused the blockade, resulted because of excavation works on a farm road. The slide has blocked traffic movement from Monday, thus having stranded hundreds of heavy and light vehicles along the road.

DoR’s Project Manager under SASEC Road Connectivity Project, Sonam Tobgay said, “We are expecting to clear the road and open traffic movement by today.”

Meanwhile, the blockade has compelled the villagers and the employees of Pasakha Industrial Estate to walk pass the bridge to get across to the other side.

DoR has continuously been working to safeguard the bridge, which is one of the main links connecting Pasakha and Phuentsholing. The recent flood had already collapsed the deck of the bridge, where an iron bailey is currently installed for pedestrians and light vehicular movement. The pillar at the base of the bridge is now protected by diverting the river flow and installing gabion walls to safeguard the area from flooding.

Sonam Tobgay said relevant stakeholders like DoR, ABI and Samphelling gewog administration are working in close collaboration to resolve the issue of road connectivity in Pasakha.

“We are working together to solve the issue soon,” he said.

The Project Manager also said the slide will be cleared and traffic will be opened soon. “But if the bridge collapses there will be more problems. We are trying to keep the bridge functioning until the winter when the new bridge is complete,” he said. DoR has started building a new bridge, which is expected to be complete this year.

Meanwhile, the recent blockade has impacted the entire community and the industrial estate in Pasakha.

ABI’s General Secretary Jochu Thinley said the industries have suffered due to the blockade.

“The industries’ finished products are still in the plant without export and the raw materials have not reached the plants. Also, it has created inconveniences for the employees to go to their duties. It has brought a lot of difficulties for the industries and the community. Knowing that the Pasakha Industrial Estate is one of the highest revenue contributors, there should be effective mitigating measures,” he said.

DoR and ABI had once opted to find alternative route to the industrial estate, but it was not feasible, according to SASEC’s Project Manager, Sonam Tobgay.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing