On 22nd June, 2021, the Joint sitting of the parliament adopted the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) recommendation on the need to institute road asset and information management system to prioritize on road maintenance.
The joint sitting of the parliament also adopted the PAC’s recommendation on the need to coordinate and monitor the quality of roads as per the Road Act and Guidelines.
The Joint sitting recommended ensuring appropriate labor and equipment in the routine maintenance work to improve enabling working environment with effective cost. MPs deliberated on the safety aspects and issues of roads.
MP Tashi Samdrup, said that the farm roads are not included in Royal Audit Authority’s (RAA) report when the main concern and problems are mainly due to the farm roads which is 9,082.2 kilometers where as the national highway is 4,783 kilometers.
Ministers raised the concern on the road safety and its importance of being monitored in timely manner and said that the quality of the road is also need to be looked after by studying the topography of the place and plan accordingly.
According to the report, PAC has observed that most roads were built way before the guidelines or standards for the roads were developed, there are ill-equipped regional offices in terms of equipment and technical capacity to be able to study the slope instabilities and disaster investigations and there is inadequate or poor monitoring of roads both during constructions and maintenance, as well as poor documentation of monitoring mechanisms.
The report states that during the FY 2017-2018, out of 155 planned monsoon structures 51 structures remained unexecuted resulting in under achievement of planned targets by 32.90 % and 71 structures were constructed by ROs without approved budget constituting 45.81% of the approved structures.
The RAA review report found that the Department of Roads lacked proper maintenance planning, prioritization of roads for maintenance, assessment of achievements and challenges slowing down prompt decisions and improvements in performing the maintenance operations. For that reason, the RAA had proposed developing a comprehensive information management system.
It was learnt that The Works and Human Settlement Minister has said to increase the life span of roads, the government is working on micro-surfacing the roads to seal and protect the road for longer life span of the road. Further, minimum of Nu 460 per working day is said to be added for the laborers working under the Department of Roads.