August 31, 2015

Reutala- The unbeatable one II

In recent times, Zhemgang has been making quite a headline on national media- BBS. The menacing road conditions at Reutala has called on the attention of many travelers and left them almost ball freezing.

In retrospect, Kheng Zhemgang was once hotspot for people commuting from Bumthang and Trongsa towards Gelephu when the construction plan of Wangdigang bypass didn’t pop up. It was the onset of golden era then. Business bloomed to the extent of explosion and socio economic status prodigiously thrived.

But the golden era reign was put to an end with the emerging idea of bypass route from Wangdigang. People were left chapfallen at the proposal of road truncation but having considered the foreseeable gains of the road at large, it became indispensable to repel the bitter truth. While on the contrary, it failed to sound mellifluous for those residing at proper Zhemgang and has ensued in near geographical seclusion. This is a short account of how a simple road diversion has left the distant place suffer to its own fate.

Today when the human muscle powers are replaced by mammoth technologies and ideas become innovative, can’t we deploy solutions that assure decent roads and appropriately connect the place with others?

Like other places, Zhemgang is also designated as one of the tourist destinations whose diversity of avifauna has made it rightly call ‘birding paradise’. Moreover, it is home to some of the nature’s glorified creatures that puts Bhutan in the frontline of global birding arena.

To this end, realizing plethora of scopes in ameliorating livelihood of communities, a tourist spot was also installed at Dangkhar. It consists of few houses ideally engulfed by breathtaking greeneries and splendidly put up traditional houses which are of earth build.

Regrettably, it remains practically defunct throughout the year. Even if it’s not so, number of tourist paving visit lies close to couple of them. The obvious reason for the poor turnout of tourists is the erratic road conditions at Reutala coupled with torrential downpours. Already the usual length of road requires 7- 8 hours’ time to complete the course and with occasional blocks to beat at different locations, it consumes not less than 10 hours. As the majority of time has to be invested on roads, many feel reluctant to make it up to here.

Come years, If we are to see hosts of tourist, the first assignment is to settle the miserable roads. But if techniques other than usual ones are not thought of, it can be a sure tinderbox situation at this vulnerable point, as flying boulders could wipeout the dozer and deposit it below in yawning chasm. Since the affair has reached a stalemate, now it is high time the concerned stakeholders heed less to the present call of solution and try to outwit through new tactics- Road diversion.

Until road diversion is adopted as a means, the problem could keep coming and rather become worst. Being complacent of the current state of problem can potentially ensue in serious economic regression in near future. And there is no denying that civil servants from all walks of life shun their placement here, not on account of place but because of road conditions.

Truth be told, it takes less time for a parcel or mail to arrive Thimphu from Japan than to Zhemgang from Thimphu.

I am all praise to everyone here enduring the hardship.

August 1, 2015

Reutala- The unbeatable one

July month had seen no post on my blog. And in June month it was only one update. So, I don’t deny to admit that I am a failed blogger. I have tried good number of times to update but the burden of my personal stuffs had me first set precedence over my own wellbeing. Then I got back desperately to my blog but only to realize that writing demands consistent practice.
Anyway, better late than never.

Prior to my arrival in Zhemgang, I have heard and seen it several times frequenting the media- both Kuensel and BBS. Who will not, after all, when it is the largely covered hot news from Kheng region. Thanks to Mr. Pema Samdrup, a BBS correspondent. But the news is hot only during rainy seasons because the place remains cut off from the rest of the country- Reutala from above and Box cutting from below. This is the fate of Khenrig Namsum people in summer.

The unbeatable Reutala
Although it is not as popular as recent news- fund embezzlement, murder or any other absconded cases, it at least deserve trivial attention. Many drivers and travelers play their lucks in crossing that not more than 1km distance of road. Seriously, what is happening to the imperative problem that goes in even to the notice of the highest level? Does it mean that alphabetically last Zhemgang is doomed to suffer till the end? Already, the place is labelled remote. Let’s not further aggravate and insulate in thicket of isolation whose socio economic development is soaring up gradually.

Some seven or eight years before, Jumja used to be more precarious than Ruetala. Passengers and travelers boarding from Phuentsholing witnesses the highest level of adrenaline pump when cruising through the unstable, sinking and nervous roads of Jumja. Nobody would dare to fall in slumber and even if one did, immediately withdraws and chants the time honored formulae “om mani padme hung.” That stretch of road, to which many experienced bumpy death ride and devoured myriads of lives, is now a favorite winding country lane to zoom off with time honored song “country road, take me home to the place I belong”

When doom-laden roads of such could be fixed, I suppose Reutala has many possibilities to become road of peace for all the travelers.

What I heard of the problem is that every year the amount invested to ease the road tension averages to millions. However, the outcome is absolute futile. Going by the total injection of money into the recurrent issue, it would have sufficed the budget for new construction of roads. Since the core concern of the place is shooting boulders during monsoon seasons and there is faint hope of beating the issue, the only alternative is diversification of the current road.

From the collective conjectures of native there, the idea of peace road is conceivable if the existing road is diverted and constructed from the summit of the slope where water sources are surmised to be the force behind falling boulders. The other remedy, according to locals, is the construction of tunnels. I am not sure if this can really appeal the concerned stakeholders but the concept of diverting the current road seem pretty impressive and doable without the need of exorbitant expertise and labors.

When some parts of the place get their motor roads blacktopped several times and widened even when it can accommodate two trucks, what is that makes Reutala unattended genuinely and ignored before everyone’s eye?

How many times must the travelers and drivers play their lucks? How many times must the bus drop its passengers at the mouth and let them gait in swampy area for hours to get at the ass of Reutala. How many times should we fret about the arrival of our loved ones?

Please show us some mercy people in authority. Please continue to bless us GOD, while we make our bumpy voyage of life and death along the ceaseless hell roads of Reutala.