Monsoon fury cripples road networks

Hundreds stranded across the nation due to the roadblocks while mitigation works are going full swing

l  Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu


Widespread roadblocks across the country wreaked by incessant heavy downpour for the last several days have left many travelers stranded along many national highways in the country.

Apart from some minor gliches in almost all highways, some Dzongkhags in central and eastern parts has been cut off from the rest of the nation since the past three days.

According to information compiled by the special police branch of the Royal Bhutan Police head quarters in Thimphu, a major roadblock had occurred at Sorchen where some portion of the roads have been completely eroded rendering it impassible.

Other roadblocks along the Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway include one at Taktikothi near Bumpathang which is also not open to traffic as yet.

As per the police sources about 13 national highways has been closed due to the dangers imposed by swollen rivers and numerous landslides across the nation as of yesterday. Officials from the Department of Roads and DANTAK are deployed in the field and monitoring the situation while road clearing is going full swing.

Dorji Lhaden, 27, from Monggar said that she has not been able to come to Thimphu to seek medical attention though she has been keeping her fingers crossed for the roads to open since the past three days.

“I had to cancel my plans of travelling to Thimphu though I need to visit the hospital urgently,” she said adding that the continuous rain for the past few days hasn’t been of any respite either.

Samdrup Yeshey, a recent graduate, said he was supposed to attend the ongoing national graduate orientation programme (NGOP). However, he said travelling from Lhuentse to Thimphu would mean putting his life on stake and that he has no other options to stay back home.

“My life is more important than the NGOP,” he said adding that he can attend the NGOP next year too but he cannot put his life at risk as the roads have become perilious.

Like Lhaden and Samdrup, Pema Dorji who is working at Pasakha, Phuntsholing, said that he couldn’t go home to Phuentsholing for the past two days due to a massive land slide at Pasakha en route his home.

“While I have been putting up with my office colleagues who live in Pasakha I am worried about my family back home. I get numerous calls from them inquiring about my safety and whereabouts,” Pema added.

The Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) in Monggar also reported a massive road block between Chazam and Doksum yesterday and it is expected to be cleared within two days.

The hardest hit are the travelers who have been stranded across the highways often having to go without meals and a proper shelter to spend the night.

Meanwhile, the bodies of the two men, an excavator driver and his assistant, who were buried in a massive slide while clearing a roadblock in Moshi in Trashigang are yet to recovered.

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