45 houses Vs hospital on road closure

45 households in Goshi Gewog, Dagana are unhappy about a closed gate located about 70 meters below the Dagapela hospital. The gate was closed by the hospital authorities on February 12, and has shut off the road used by the 45 households.

The road was established in 2007 with the construction of the hospital. Initially, only five of the households initiated the move to construct a 3 km road from the main road with a budget of about Nu 500,000 raised among them.

Subsequently, the farm road was extended by another 2.5 km in 2010. The farm road was named as Tiwari farm road in 2011, benefiting 45 households.

However, the extension of the road raised certain issues on the impact it had on the hospital as it is located only 70 meters away. Therefore, the households were asked to build a gate in 2008 to reduce the traffic on the road. The households built the gate with about Nu 100,000 of their own budget.

However, in 2011, the households were asked to close the gate after a meeting with gewog, dzongkhag and hospital officials.

According to the administration officer of Dagapela hospital, Kezang Wangmo, the decision to close the gate was because of the noise pollution created by the numerous moving vehicles on the road even during late night hours. She said such pollution has a huge impact on health and well being of the patients in the hospital. She also said that with numerous passersby, it was becoming difficult to maintain a clean environment around the hospital, and that in turn, can worsen the state of patients’ health.

She said, “During the meeting, it was discussed that the alternate road will be provided with the closure of gate, to which most have understood the impact and situation, and agreed upon the decision.”

According to the Gup of Goshi, Prem Kumar Dahal, the households requested for an alternate road to be constructed below the existing road which lies about one km away.  He added that since the land belonged to the livestock department, the forestry clearance was not given as it was explained by livestock department that there will be need of more space in future, and moreover there was a risk in shrinkage of a pond.

He said, “So, the next option was put for the realignment in the place named Hati Dunga, which again belonged to the agriculture department, which was again denied on similar reason.” Therefore, the realignment was made from a Subba gawn, three km away from the hospital.

“It used to be a talam, used for many decades since our forefathers’ time and was the main route to travel towards Gesarling, Dorona and some other places to do business,” the Gup pointed out.

According to a resident affected by the road closure, Bhim Kumar Thapa, the distance to the hospital could be reached easily prior to the road closure. “Now, if the patient is serious and need an ambulance, we have to make a whole round of three km to reach hospital.”

He added that he could also lose his tenants and business due to the lack of a proper road to his place. “This is the main place where most foreigners and officials reside as tenants. I got the information that most of them are planning to leave the house as it is inconvenient for their vehicles to pass.”

Dal Badhur Gurung, another one of the affected residents said, “We were never informed that the gate will be closed. The alternate road is more of a disadvantage than advantage, especially for 14 households who are already near hospital.”

Meanwhile, the 14 households have appealed to the court against the Dagapela hospital closing down the road. Their plea is to be provided with a suitable alternate road nearby or to have the gate open. A court hearing was scheduled on October 12 earlier this week.

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