KOKRAJHAR, Oct 13: Since many years, the pathetic condition of the Indo-Bhutan road from Samthaibari (NH-13 C) in Assam to Gelegphu (Bhutan) connecting Gurubhasa, Runikhata, Bhur Tiniali, Shantipur, Daosri and Datgari has become a major cause of resentment for the people of the region, particularly of neighbouring Bhutan.
The Samthaibari-Gelegphu road is the key to communication in the southern Royal town Gelegphu with the rest of Bhutan. The road is in an extremely bad condition despite being an international road. Repair of this road is going on at a snail’s pace.
The secretary general of Bhutan India Friendship Association (BIFA), Ugen Rabten expressed deep concern over the dilapidated road. He said the lateral highway 127 (C) beginning from Datgari (Hatisar) to Bhur Tiniali had been in a pathetic condition for many years now. He said this highway was grossly neglected by the Government of Assam.
“In fact, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had reassured our last Prime Minister Dasho Tshering Tobgye during the ‘Advantage Assam’ Summit in Guwahati in the beginning of 2018 that the road will be resurrected immediately. Our neighbours along NH-27 (C) and we the Bhutanese people were equally happy when Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) officials led by State Tourism Minister Chandan Brahma launched a ground-breaking ceremony to start the reconstruction of road at Datgari sometime in April, 2018,” he said, adding that they had high hopes for improvement of this road after minister Brahma took charge.
“But even to this day, nothing has been done to improve the road,” he said. Rabten said the deteriorating condition of this road had slowed down the economic progress of Gelephu and the neighbouring areas. “From all angles, Gelephu suffers disadvantages. It seems like our legendary Lama Drukpa Kuenlay, also known as the Devine Mad Monk, had never ever set foot in Gelephu. I say this because we Bhutanese believe that wherever Lama Drukpa Kuenlay spent his days, those places are blessed with good fortune and prosperity,” he added.
He said that people from across the border of both the countries depended on the Samthaibari-Gelegphu road and it needed urgent resurface for movement of vehicles.