The focus of the Ministry of Work and Human Settlement (MoWHS) for the coming year will be on improving and construction of new roads. The ministry will prioritize the Gewog Centre roads for base course and blacktopping. Apart from roads, the ministry also plans to construct bridges and tunnels.
MoWHS minister Dorji Tshering said that by mid-2019, people will enjoy the northern-east-west highway. The widening works were assigned to 44 contractors, of which 40 contractors have completed their work while the four contractors are yet to complete.
Lyonpo said, “There was a delay in completion by the four contractors for various reasons, however, we had a talk with the four contractors and discussed on what can be done to have the best quality roads within the given time frame.”
“Three contractors might be able to complete the work in February while the one will complete only in the month of June. Thereby, in 2019, the northern-east-west highway will be cleared up till Ura and from Yedi to Trashigang”, Lyonpo added.
Likewise, if they get clearance from the National Environment Commission (NEC), they expect to resume the construction of Shingkhar-Gorgan highway by 2019 or 2020, said Lyonpo.
The debates on the construction of Shingkhar- Gorgan highway has been there for the past ten years, he said, adding, it is still an issue. The construction has to be kept on hold, not because the highway was not important to people or not because the ministry has had no capacity.
“The main reason behind that is because it was difficult to get clearance from NEC. A detailed report has been submitted to the NEC and we’re awaiting clearance. If we get the clearance than we hope and expect to start the work in the first or second year of 12 FYP”, he added.
The minister said that with the aim to prioritize Gewog roads, the ministry will accord higher budget on the blacktopping of Gewog center roads.
“We will select the most important farm roads and will start the base course in 2019 and then focus on blacktopping,” said the works and human settlement minister.
The construction of Maokhola bridge which is included in the 12th FYP is also expected to see the dawn of the new day towards the end of 2019.
There are other important projects which need to be implemented, said the minister. However, in 2019, people will see for the first time, tunneling works in Trongsa. “It is about 800 meters from Trongsa towards Thomangdrak. We are positive about getting the budget for the construction and once they get the budget we will start the construction of the tunnel”, he said.
Regarding southern-east-west highway, lyonpo said that it is another important project like the northern-east-west highway. The construction, however, couldn’t take off in the absence of a bridge over the Maokhola River. As per the current budget, the work should be on track, he added.
The roads are interconnected and the southern east-west national highway will include building roads from Lhamoizingkha to Gelephu to Panbang, Nanglam to Deothang and Samdrupjongkhar to Jomotshangkha.
Lyonpo said that the construction may not finish in 12 FYP but they will try their best to finish the major works.