After the Chukha Dzongkhag Tshogdu raised concerns on excessive number of signboards in English put up by Project DANTAK along the Thimphu-Phuntsholing highway, the Chukha NC asked the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) whether the consent has been taken from National Road Authority before installing the signboards and if the excessive installation of signpost comply with the Road Act of Bhutan.
Chukha NC also raised the criticism from the people about the signboards not having any Dzongkha text and that there is hardly any signboards installed by national agencies on the highway.
He pointed out that if Project DANTAK plans to install one signboard per kilometer then Thimphu-Phuntsholing will be having 176 signboards since there is a distance 176 km between Thimphu and Phuntsholing, and similarly 547 signboard along Thimphu to Trashigang highway since the distance is 547 km.
The issue was discussed in 9th Dzongkhag Tshogdu meeting of Chukha as well, and the matter was then forwarded to the MoWHS. Lyonpo Dorji Choden said the government is fully aware that such installation of signboards has to comply with the Road Act of Bhutan.
She said that most of the road, about 5000 km, is constructed by Project DANTAK since its establishment in 1961. Lyonpo said Project DANTAK has been of an immense help to the development of country. Today, most of the roads works are handed over to the government.
Lyonpo said that people have right to be concerned about road signboards since in the past, signboards with inappropriate and different names were installed along the Samdrup Jongkhar-Phuntsholing highway. After discussing with DANTAK, action was taken accordingly, where sign posts were removed and some got modified.
“In the past, there used to be only the name of place and information on distances shown in kilometer,” Lyonpo Dorji Choden added.
The House pointed on a need of international standards where signboards need to provide only the information on distance and cautionary information and the name of places.
Regarding the permission, Lyonpo said, “DANTAK has been carrying out its work since 1961, we didn’t care much about the consent on the signpost nor did we demand as there are no such policies so far.”
The House also discussed a separate issue about how road clearances have to be obtained from project DANTAK instead of Department of Roads.
Regarding the road clearance, Lyonpo said that the process is carried out in cooperation with the Department of Roads, and if there were any issues, then DANTAK has always sought consent from the Department of Roads. She said, “There might be some flaws which we have no idea about, but major issues were always carried with discussion.”