New highway route brings smiles to Lhamoizingkha residents

Work in progress in Kalikhola bridge

A new passage to Lhamoizingkha under construction will bring the regions of the dungkhag closer and also end the isolation of the place from the rest of the country.

With the upcoming Manitar-Raidak highway project the 121 km distance between Lhamoizingkha and Phuentsholing will be reduced to 58 kms but more importantly the three hour journey will be covered in about two hours.

This comes as good news and brings a sense of huge relief for the dungkhag people who can now avoid risky points in the Indian territories especially while they cross two dangerous rivers, Kalikhola and Hatinala during the summer seasons.

During the monsoons, with the swollen Kalikhola and Hatinala rivers, the dungkhag is disconnected from the rest of the dzongkhags.

Private vehicles and buses cannot cross the rivers, no matter how important their travels are. Those who attempt to cross the rivers have to do it at their own risks.

The two years and eight months time bound project divided into two packages, 37 km Manitar-Raidak road under Chhukha dzongkhag and the 18 km road between Raidak and Lhamoizingkha under Dagana which began last October is nearing completion.

The project Manager, Thakur Singh Ghalley said “Almost 70% of the widening work has been done on the 37 km Manitar-Raidak road while 13 kms of formation cutting on the 18 km road between Raidak and Lhamoizingkha has been completed.”

Despite all the problems due to rainfall during the monsoon and conflict with the wildlife especially wild elephants, the project manager said he is positive about the completion of the project on time.

Skilled laborers from across the border and also some local laborers work day and night on the construction site to ensure the work is done in time.

The residents of Lhamoizingkha dungkhag said that the highway is a blessing in disguise and everyone eagerly looked forward to the completion of the project.

“It will save us enormous time, in fuel, wear and tear and several other bottlenecks on each trip,” said Ugyen Wangmo a house wife who has to constantly travel to Phuentsholing for shopping.

Another housewife and a mother of a daughter said “Travelling on the roads of Indian Territory at times is so risky and at times during the strikes we are stuck in-between not knowing what to do. I was stuck in the strike for almost three days while returning from my village last time”.

“Now with the coming of the new highway, all our problems will be solved. I am excited about the new route,” she said.

The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with the estimated budget for the Raidak and Lhamoizingkha road under Dagana of Nu 425,414,244.42mn and for the Manitar-Raidak, Nu 446,874,028.59mn.

Two bridges will be constructed over Wang Chu and Kalikhola.

 

Chencho Dema / Thimphu

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