Finally, Bhutan’s export body compelled to repair the Samthaibari-Gelegphu road
In the long run, the Bhutan Export Association (BEA) of neighbouring Bhutan has been compelled to repair the Samthaibari-Gelegphu international road in the Indian stretch from Bhutan's entrance gate, Datgari, to Shantipur, in Chirang district of the BTR.
KOKRAJHAR: In the long run, the Bhutan Export Association (BEA) of neighbouring Bhutan has been compelled to repair the Samthaibari-Gelegphu international road in the Indian stretch from Bhutan's entrance gate, Datgari, to Shantipur, in Chirang district of the BTR.
The 45-km-long Samthaibari-Gelegphu (Bhutan) from National Highway-31 (C) has been extremely dilapidated for a couple of years. The Government of Assam could repair the road only to Bhur Tinali from Samthaibari until last year, and the rest of the 20 km was left with massive potholes.
It was a harrowing time for the travellers from Bhutan and India to move via this road. The Samthaibari-Gelegphu road is the lifeline of Bhutan's southern town, Gelegphu, the fast-progressing business and tourist centre of Bhutan. Gelegphu is also one of the most important trade centres between Bhutan and BTR (India), as various farm products from either side get exported or imported. Earlier, people used to reach Gelegphu in 20 minutes from Shantipur to Gelegphu, but now it takes over 1.30 hours to reach the 20 km distance due to the deplorable road condition.
Local people from across the border in the Chirang district and Sarpang Dzongkhag in Bhutan hailed the initiative of the Bhutan Export Association (BEA) to repair the 20-km stretch of Samthaiabari-Gelegphu road in the last couple of days. The repairs started in Datgari and are likely to be finished within the next three to four days. Bhutanese heavy rollers, dredgers, and dumpers are seen being pressed into service for repair work.
It is to be mentioned that due to the dilapidated condition of the Samthaibari-Gelegphu road, Bhutan has witnessed a declining trend in visitors. The Bhutan-India Friendship Association (BIFA) has been playing a very important role in upholding mutual understanding and people-to-people contact across the border.
Talking to a section of the media, the leaders of the Bhutan Export Association (BEA) said the association took the initiative of repairing the road in consultation with its Indian counterpart as the road has turned into its ugliest form. They said the BEA took just Grouted Semi-flexible Pavement (GPS) repair with sand and gravel on the surface and sent machinery in the 20-km Datgari-Shantipur stretch as an immediate measure for relief.
Meanwhile, an employee of the State PWD, while talking to newsmen, said the repairing works of the Samthaibari-Gelegphu road have been completed up to Bhur Tinali. He thanked the BEA for taking urgent steps to repair this road.
On the other hand, the 30-km Bishmuri-Sarpang (Bhutan) road in the Kokrajhar district connecting the headquarters of Sarpang Dzongdak is also in deplorable condition. The repair of this road is yet to be completed.