Addressing basic problems first

Just a week back, the residents of Simtokha, Babesa, Olakha, and Changzamtog in Thimphu had gone without water for around three days after the water pipe located below Chamgang was hit by a landslide that was caused by heavy rain on June 20.

To ease the issue, the Thromde office even had to distribute water to the residents from tankers, while some residents bought bottled water to cook and wash.

However, this is not a new issue for some residents living here in Thimphu. Apart from water shortages, we are all witnesses to basic issues like that of erratic water supply, pothole-ridden roads, sewerage, and waste issue.

All these issues and problems have been there for years. These have been raised and discussed, but they have only continued to spiral and wait to be addressed.

Take an example of the pothole-ridden roads. Even in core areas, we have roads that are filled with potholes. They lay there as if no one cares and as if no one is concerned. Luckily, they do get some patches of asphalt over it to fill the holes and even new road markings if some foreign dignitaries are to visit the capital city.

Similarly, even if our city is expanding and new concrete structures are coming up outside the peripheries of the main core town, residents in these places are still confronting basic problems like not having access to safe drinking water. The lucky ones get a few hours of drinking water to their homes, while the unlucky ones wait for days and weeks.

There are also those in this city who wait for compactors and waste-collecting vehicles to arrive, day after day. While they assure themselves that they would get rid of the house waste this time, such waiting has also become a waste of time for many as the waste collection system and timings are erratic. Sometimes the trucks don’t arrive and the reasons are then often attributed to the breaking down of the compactors or vehicles.

If not having additional vehicles to collect waste is the problem, the simple solution is to have additional vehicles and ones that do not break down. Let’s first address these basic problems, such as that of water and waste, before we spend or plan to spend huge money on other huge infrastructures and projects. They can wait.

We are already grappling with the problems of burgeoning capital city and the exponential population growth. With the growing population and the growing town, these issues and problems are only likely to aggravate. This is the opportunity now about how we can stop these problems or issues from becoming serious. Let us start to address the basic problems first.