Friday, April 14, 2017

Shingkhar-Gorgan Road, Yet Again

Something fishy has to be going on about this illegal Shingkhar-Gorgan road. I thought that we had buried the issue - but it has reared its ugly head once again. The Kuensel has reported on it yet again, in their 13th April issue. The story filed by reporter Tempa Wangdi makes it clear beyond any doubt that there is more to the construction of the Shingkhar-Gorgan road, than meets the eye.

Is it possible that the road is being pursued – not for the economic betterment of the people of Lhuentse as is claimed, but because of some private interest? Is some private interest behind this relentless push to do the road, even while being fully aware that it is illegal, meaningless and environmentally destructive?

The Kuensel has been candid in reporting the views of the National Environment Commission (NEC) on this issue:

1.  That the NEC will not consider environmental clearance for the road’s construction - until the
     government first sorts out the legality of the road. This means that the construction of the
     Shingkhar-Gorgan road is illegal.

2.  The DoR has falsely claimed that only 18 kilometers of the 37.28 km of Shingkhar-Gorgan
      would pass through the core zone area of Phrumsengla National Park. However, the NEC is clear
      that the road not only passes through the core area of Phrumsengla National Park but
      the entire 37.28 KMs falls in the core zone of the park.

3.  The NEC also pointed out: “In the EIA report, most of the baseline information submitted is

     secondary and sourced outside the project area……”. This clearly means that the DoR has
     tried to hoodwink the NEC by submitting an EIA report assessed (if at all) from an area
     that was clearly not the project area. This has got to be criminal - and a case for the ACC.

Why is a government agency trying to deliberately submit false reports in order that they can do the road?

What desperation drives the Department of Roads and the Ministry of Works & Human Settlement to lie so blatantly to a regulatory authority?

One other thing: the government says that the construction of this illegal road will shorten distance by 100 KMs. What they fail to tell is whether shortening distance will translate into savings in travel time. Also they are very quite on the fact that the road will pass through a geographical area that is unstable and perilous, and that at one point the road has to pass through an altitude that has never been attained before.

Singma-La Pass: If the Shingkhar-Gorgan road gets built, it has to pass through this high pass which is at 4,033M - nearly 253M higher than Thrumshing-La Pass. Singma-La is 153M higher than today's highest road point - Chele-La Pass.

What kind of environmental champions break laws to vandalize the environment? How far can we go with our “Bhutan for Life” when it is clear that we clandestinely scheme and plan to imperil life within the most protected areas?

We have to be careful what we do - if not the world will soon discover that our claims to being a carbon negative country, a land of happiness etc. is nothing more than the drum beats of the charlatans.

3 comments:

  1. We are not practicing what we preach. Knowing that India is pursuing Hydro dams for their own interests, that our future is indebted financially and that it is having irreparable consequences to our environment, we don't keep a single river un-dammed. Bhutan would be the most dammed country in the world in next one decade. Now this Shinkhar Gorgan road, everyone knows is illegal but they keep pushing on. Sad development.

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  2. It may have been okay to eyewash the citizens 20 or 30 years ago. Now most of us are educated & can read what's going on inside & outside of our beloved nation. As a citizen, I can only cry to learn that our nation is in debt with whooping ~91‰ of our GDP. It will easily make 100% debt of our GDP if this nonsensical road goes ahead! I know the mantra is most of the debt is self a liquidating hydropower loans..
    Debt is current & hydropowers are yet to materialise...it is uncertain future out there. What if glacial outburst happens and we will not have river water anymore! The debt sum scares the shit out of me, and I am sure to many of you too.

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  3. A voice narrated by our fellow citizen:

    http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/16/dont-go-river-river-carry-you/

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