The 60 km road which is the main road that enables Indo-Bhutan trade and connects Gomtu residents to other part of the region is plagued with giant potholes, but has not been repaired for a while.
The Head of the Administrative section under Penden Cement Authority Limited (PCAL) Thinley Tenzin said everyday around 400 trucks ply on the road carrying around 3000 tons of cement and dolomite from Lhaki cement, Jigme Mining and PCAL and imports 300 tons of raw materials on 100 trucks every day.
“Adding to INR problem whole trading has become more difficult and inconvenient,” said Thinley Tenzin. He added that it consumes time and money since it need lots of repair and slows down the vehicles.
Some of the Officials from PCAL said they have had discussions with Madarihat Block Development Officer Pemba Sherpa, counterpart of Gomtu regarding the maintenance of road by Public Works Department under West Bengal.
The Block Development Officer said that there was neither proposal nor budget to repair the road. He said maintenance work cannot be done instantly as its monsoon season and tendering process would take time.
In addition to that they would have to wait till monsoon season ends.
The PCAL officials said the Consulate General of India from Phuentsholing was informed about the condition and they had promised to take up the matter but there were no actions as of now.
Many plans and works have been thwarted by the poor road condition said the residents of Gomtu.
“With this poor road condition cab drivers have increased the fare from Nu 150 to 250 from Birpara till Gomtu which is 14 km,” said an official from PCAL Tshewang Norbu.
He added the eight km stretch of road from Dalmore till Gomtu is the worst, and it is impossible for small cars to ply on it.
The PCAL had refilled the potholes for about two kms a month ago but it became worse after the heavy rainfall.
Official from PCAL, Kunzang Dorji who recently travelled through the road observed that huge potholes inhibit cars to ply and moreover trucks with huge load had to replace new road spring for their truck.
“The big worry, aside from the huge cost to motorists is in the giant craters which pose grave risks to lives of the people,” he said.
He said there were situations when a long line of vehicles got stranded as trucks with massive load got stuck in a pothole.
“In near future there might be car accidents though it didn’t happen so far,” said Madarihat Block Development Officer Pemba Sherpa.
The road which also connects Gomtu and Phuentsholing is a lifeline for the network of places it connects and people have strongly felt the need for its repair.