The biggest harbinger of development in Bhutan was the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway which, even today, is the main commercial lifeline for Bhutan.
In that sense, the Damchu-Chukha bypass inaugurated by the Prime Minister on 18th July is a major project that will save a lot of money and time and bolster Bhutan’s lifeline.
In a broad sense, the highway directly connects the three biggest cities; like the capital city Thimphu, the unofficial commercial capital Phuentsholing and Paro which has the international airport.
This is not to mention major hydro projects in Punakha and Wangdue and even Trongsa and connections with Chukha, Haa and many other Dzongkhags.
The highway is also used by many to travel between Thimphu and the eastern and southern parts of the country. Thimphu has more than 100,000 Bhutanese who comprise the bulk of the urban population of Bhutan, with almost every household in Bhutan having a member earning livelihood here.
So the bypass will also have a national impact.
While most services are available online there are still reasons to travel to the capital; be it for medical services, official work, commercial work etc. The highway will reduce the time and money spent in travelling to the capital.
In the past Bhutan was cut off from most of the world secure in the fold of the Himalayas, however, in the modern era connectivity is important for the development and progress of a nation.
In the modern era what is even more important than money is time. The long hours wasted by officials, business people and ordinary citizens on the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway will now be saved.
The government of the day must be given credit for putting the timely completion of the project up and front- to the extent of even supplying equipment and men from CDCL for a certain difficult stretch.
The message of the regular visits by the Prime Minister to the bypass must also not have been lost on those executing the project.
Importantly, the Indian government and DANTAK must be thanked and congratulated for funding and completing such a monumental infrastructure project. As they say action speaks far louder than any words.
There can be no doubt that the transportation sector is the most critical sector of our economy.