Monday, 16 February 2015


Just as I was thinking of the next subject to write about, Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) ran a story on some kind of controversy that halted the road construction in Shingkhar gewog under Zhemgang dzongkhag. Although, I am not familiar with that place, it was understood that the two part of the same village could not agree on the alignment of the road and the construction is now halted.

It is a sad thing to happen. By stopping the progress of the work, it is the people themselves who are going to be affected. There must be a solution to this disagreement. The villagers must and can find a mutually beneficial solution to this problem. Stopping the work is certainly not the solution.

One important step before proposals for an important project like road construction is considered is the public consultations. I am sure this must have been thoroughly done. If it was done, the best solution would be adhering to those outcomes irrespective of what the disgruntled people object to. But, at times, many of the projects appear to have deficiencies during that critical phase leading to problems during the time of implementation.

There are instances where, roads built in the villages could be more beneficial with little more consultations. For example, the farm road to Khangma village goes on the other side of the village with the village on another side. That road I think would really benefit people if it goes right inside the village connecting as many households as possible. Already people rue about this.

The road to Chimong gewog near Pangthang village is precarious. The alignment can be termed as poor with treacherous gradients and narrow width. That road also could have been better if there was proper planning and public consultations.

And the road to Chongshing gewog centre is likely to be an ecological disaster. There is realignment taking place right now but, even the realigned road is no better than the one that had to be realigned in the first place. Excuse me if I am wrong.

While, engineers are professionally competent, the views and suggestions of local government officials and village elders must always be given accommodation. What they lack in technicality is more than adequately compensated by their experience, wisdom and practical understanding of local terrains.

But the most important part of the consultation is getting the consensus of the beneficiaries without any reservations. They must be then made to abide by the decisions of the engineers in developing alignment based on technical standard.  And they must not be allowed to interfere when the engineers do their unbiased duty of aligning the roads. This would reduce conflicts later like the one in Shingkhar.

Gyembo Namgyal

February 16, 2015 11:40 PM


  1. Gombo sir, sometimes life is very frustrating when people never understand what good lies for them and what good others are doing. Due to such halt progress of the work get delay and many issue arise then. In between it is demoralizing to work in such communities. To make the public agree to one solution be it alignment or anything is not with technical people working in such projects. If public agree to have road via most different terrain, it is the duty of technical professionals to overcome it. But we can't overrule the decision of public and sometimes it is simply a politics~

    1. It has got to do with with various reasons for certain things gone wrong which could have been better. And as you say, sometimes the problems are complex and that is when things go awry. Thanks for insightful comment.