Bhutan

So it has been still?

Sep 8, 2017
Department of Roads (DoR) has said lack of “in-depth study” of the soil conditions before the construction of roads, widening activities, and heavy rainfall were among the causes leading to numerous roadblocks in the country.
 
Washing away of roads during monsoon is one thing, bad roads in the cities is quite a different thing altogether. How do we explain this? Bad roads bring risks to everyone.
 
As we are told, “study process” is looked at as time consuming and, therefore, is comfortably done away with. An inside man from DoR has come on record to tell us that the east-west highway widening project, for example, didn’t conduct study and there are only a few who do it.
 
Recently, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay visited the damaged road that connects the four gewogs of Serzhong, Chuzargang, Tareythang, and Umling. There is a need to do some fixing the way we look at projects like this.
 
Terrain is not a problem. Stupendous projects have been successful in the most difficult places. What seems to be the problem is how lightly we look at our development initiatives. The way we award contracts, for example, could be changed. The focus should be on quality.
 
The finance ministry approves millions of ngultrums for the maintenance of the roads every year. Are we using this resource judiciously? If planning is rigid, products will be dependable. That’s not been happening.
 
Keeping a tab on the progress of the road construction in the country is important. But what we must consider is that building or striving for the quality is more important. For a country like ours, good road condition is sensible development base than anything else.
 
There is a need to strengthen monitoring system. If contractors and builder of roads can do whatever they like, road quality will continue to suffer. Probably because we do not have robust quality control measures, we have more contractors than is necessary.
 
Being concerned that certain stretch of road is important and it was damaged because of improper drainages along the road is not enough. Redoing project because of poor quality work is a waste of time and resources.
 
It is time we looked at more efficient and dependable ways of awarding construction projects. At the core of the idea should be stringent monitoring system. All else could fail otherwise.
 
Kuensel Online, September 7, 2017 

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