Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Fewer accidents at Melong Brak

May 20: The Melong Brak on the Samdrup Jongkhar-Trashigang highway is known as a dangerous stretch of road.

A number of people have died in accidents on this road which is narrow and runs across a smooth vertical cliff. But over the last few years, there have been fewer reports of accidents on this road.

Melong Brak literally means mirror cliff. Seen from a distance, the cliff looks like a massive mirror. Therefore it has been named Melong Brak. The narrow road runs along the smooth vertical rock face like a thin line. For motorists including passenger bus drivers and truckers, this is one of the most dangerous roads in the kingdom.

Accidents on this road are almost always fatal, often leaving behind no survivors. Passengers are known to mutter prayers in silenced as they pass along this road.

Melong Brak is located about 70 kilometers from Samdrup Jongkhar on the way to Trashigang. The road is so narrow, there is just about enough space for a singe truck to pass along slowly. One mistake, one wrong turn of the wheel, and the vehicle will plunge 300 meters into the abyss. Most of the accidents occurred while two vehicles were passing each other.

Meme Khotsa Drukpa, an 80-year-old resident of Narphung said accidents occur almost every year at this cliff. He said he personally witnessed 15 accidents, the majority involving heavy vehicles. He said the wreckage are still lying at the bottom of the cliff. It is not possible to take them out.

But over the last few years, there have been fewer accidents on this road. Our reporter Pema Samdrup says this could be due to the numerous signboards, crash barriers and illuminators established by Project DANTAK.

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