201 farm roads included under Phase I with a budget of Nu 2.6 bn

The government has reprioritized works in the agriculture sector for the 12th Five-Year

Plan (FYP), and has decided to make 201 weather pliable farm roads under Economic Contingency Plan.

According to the Chief Planning Officer, Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC), Tandin Wangmo, the first phase of farm roads improvement work, which includes carrying out Granular Sub Base (GSB) and drainage works, has already been initiated.

She said that there are 201 farm roads that are included under the first phase with a budget of Nu 2.6 billion (bn), already mobilized.

“Most of the dzongkhags and gewogs have already initiated tendering works on the same. While a timeline of six months has been provided to LGs to complete the works under first phase, it is anticipated that some of the LGs may complete it even earlier,” she said, adding that the Government is already working on mobilizing resources for the remaining farm roads.

She said that the remaining farm roads will be rolled out in a manner promoting performance-based grant allocation to those gewogs completing the works under phase I successfully. 

GNHC has looked into four main criteria, the year of construction, number of beneficiaries, farm land in acreage and production. The criteria are applied on the list of existing farm roads received from the LGs into implementation phases. 

She said, “Furthermore, while budget is provided for GSB and drainage works, LGs are provided the flexibility to localize drainage designs as well as determine work scope for both the road and drains, based on its local need or utility and even take up different scopes of work, such as blacktopping, soling and concrete-pavement works, other permanent structures, provided the Gewogs/ Dzongkhags are willing to top-up the difference in cost from its allocated budget.”

She added that the flexibility is allowed based on feedback received on the different geographical as well as climatic conditions in the LGs. 

She said that implementation capacity, raw materials and workers will continue to be the main challenges, particularly due to the pandemic.

“Moreover, for those LGs located in the southern part of the country, which falls in the high risk zone, LGs will have to take extra caution and consider means of carrying out the works safely amid COVID-protocols,” she said.

The resource requirement to carry out works as per the existing list compiled so far is about Nu 16 bn. 

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