Jigme Dorji National Park
Jigme Dorji National Park 30 March, 2011 – The Jigme Dorji national park will be the first protected area in the country that will have a road running through some of its areas.
The 23-km road from Dodena to Barshong gewog in Thimphu dzongkhag, the construction of which will begin on April 6, is being built to provide improved accessibility, enhance vigilance, fire control and patrolling inside protected areas.
At the same time, it will also provide accessibility to services for people living within the park area and uplift their livelihood.
“We always have to juggle between conservation and development, balancing the developmental needs of the people and the nature conservation policy,” chief forest officer Phuntsho Thinley said.
The road, which will be constructed on a complete package but without black topping, has very strict guidelines, making it much more expensive to build than farm roads.
Some of the guidelines are making sure the boulders are not thrown recklessly down the slope, dumping sites will be identified at regular points, use of noiseless blasters, and maintaining of speed limit to 10 kilometre per hour.
Thimphu dzongkhag officials explained that the cost involved is Nu 111M. “Because we have more budget, we can take due consideration of all the necessary precaution while construction to mitigate impacts,” park management officials said, adding that, if a wild animal habitat is found after digging a road, then the proponent has to have the financial capability and willingness to divert the construction.
Park management and Thimphu dzongkhag administration had mutually agreed upon the guidelines during the issuance of clearance.
It will be a model road and any other road to be built in protected areas will follow the same rule.
Meanwhile gewog representatives of those protected areas said that such road construction would at least not differentiate them from getting necessary facilities, but were doubtful on conservation of nature. “Since we fall under protected areas, we are always pushed aside from any developmental activities,” Soe gup Kencho Dorji said. “With the initiative, there would be less migration to urban areas.”