The recent declaration by the government that Lhuentse is the most poorly served Dzongkhag in the country is nothing short of rubbing salt to the wound of the people of Khengri Namsum. If the government feels that the people of Lhuentse are more deserving than the stoically tolerating Khengpas, they should have the courage to go ahead and do whatever they want to do - without resorting to falsehood.
As a Khengpa, I feel insulted that the government not only continues to ignore Zhemgang Dzongkhag but goes as far as to deny that it is the most poorly served Dzongkhag in the country. Such a deliberate distortion of facts has serious ramifications on the people of Kheng. By denying that Zhemgang Dzongkhag is the most poorly served Dzongkhag in the country, it becomes convenient for the government to divert funds else where. But in a sense I think I can understand why our government is so poorly educated about Khengpas and their continuing plight. I want to know: how many of the members of the Cabinet - both present and past - have visited inner Kheng? It may come as a shock that majority of them, even after being Ministers for decades, have not visited Kheng even once.
Today, when there are natural calamities in the East and the West, everybody is scrambling to outdo each other to deliver relief and reconstruction material. If such calamities were to happen in the Kheng region, the government would be soooooo terribly out of luck - because no way they would be able to be so quick with their kidu! There are no roads to deliver anything! That is when the government will truly understand the calamity of their neglect.
This post is still about the Gorgan-Shingkhar road. This stretch of road that will run through the TNP wilderness serves no purpose, its construction breaks laws, it will cause irreparable damage to the environment and in all provability it will remain unused for most part of the year, if at all. If the government has the will and the financial resources to do such a meaningless and destructive road, surely it has money enough to do some useful road in the severely deprived Zhemgang Dzongkhag. Let me show you how pathetic the road network in Zhemgang is.
In all of Zhemgang, there are currently three roads:
Tingtingbi- Gongphu road
Dakphai - Buli road
Tingtingbi - Wangdigang road
The construction of the Tingtingbi-Gongphu road was started in 1988. Amazingly, the entire stretch of this road runs through total wilderness - it does not touch any of the villages in the vicinity such as Tsanglajong, Subrang, Zurphey and Gongphu. The road is called Tingtingbu-Gongphu road but it stops short of Gongphu village by 8 KMs - in the middle of nowhere called Praleng! When it was finally completed in 2005 (including the 8KMs farm road that finally connected Gongphu village) this road measuring a total of 46 KMs took 17 (seventeen) years to build - an astounding construction rate of less than 3 KMs per year!
The second road in the Kheng area is the Dakphai-Buli road. This road is supposed to serve the upper Kheng areas. Its construction was started in 1996 but as of January 2010, it hasn’t yet reached Nimshong village. I cannot decide whether this is a farm road or a regular road. But the less than 40 KMs road so far has taken all of 14 years to construct - a construction rate of 2.85 KMs per year!
The Tingtingbi-Wangdigang road is actually a by-pass road that is not intended to benefit the Kheng people. This road is strictly to reduce the overall road length between Gaylegphug and Trogsa. It starts at Tingtingbi, goes through complete wilderness without touching a single village and would reconnect at Wangdigang on the existing highway, when finally done. For the Khengpas, this road is as good as not being there - like the Gorgan-Shingkhar road would be to the Lhuentsips - if ever it gets constructed.