Dagana reels from rain damage

Dagana will remain cut off for another week, according to officials from the department of roads (DoR) in Dagapela.

“It could take about a week to clear all the road blocks, if the rain stops,” DoR assistant engineer, C B Mongar, said. “But if the rain continues, it’ll be very difficult to clear.”
Road officials said that, though men and machines are deployed at affected sites, traffic would be able to resume only by August 31, as heavy rainfall on the night of August 19 caused about 65 landslides and roadblocks along the 87 km Sunkosh-Dagana highway and damaged three bridges.

At some places, even the formation widths were washed away. “At every 300 m, there are about five blocks,” C B Mongar said.

There are two massive sinking areas, where about 250 m of road had subsided, and two bridges that need restoration, the bailey bridges over Dagachu and Baligang. About 125 labourers are deployed in Dagachu, about 60 km away from Dagana proper towards Sunkosh, to restore the damaged bridge. DoR is restoring the abutment to rest the bridge and maintaining the affected wing walls.

Falling boulders near the site are making things exceedingly difficult for the labourers, according to C B Mongar. “What once took 10 minutes now takes about an hour to reach the site, as people have to go down to the river bank and climb,” he said. “We couldn’t even deploy machinery.”

Over the collapsed Baligang bridge, a temporary bridge of bamboo was erected so people can pass.

However, road officials are worried that incessant rain would hamper work. “If it rains like this, we’ll have to suspend work as it’ll be difficult to lay the bridge foundations if the water level rises,” C B Mongar said.

Meanwhile, four gewogs in the dzongkhag reported crop damage. Gewog officials of Tashiding said that paddy fields were washed away in Teg gewog, while Khebisa and Tsangkha reported loss of maize crops. In Drujeygang, paddy and maize fields, belonging to about 10 households, were destroyed. “About 20 orange trees were also washed away,” said Drujeygang gup Sherub.

However, the assistant dzongkhag agriculture officer, Chimi Wangchuk, said that the dzongkhag only received verbal reports. “We’ve asked gewog officials to verify and send the report to the dzongkhag,” he said. “The dzongkhag would then forward it to the department of agriculture for further action.”

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