As per the notification from the Thromde, the parking fee is being resumed to create employment for the youths
The Phuentsholing Thromde’s decision to resume parking fee collection from September 1 has irked the residents, who have just returned back to normal life after four months of living in complete lockdown.
The people in the border town say having suffered financially, they deserve tax and related government tariff relaxation, parking fee included, for enduring the blackout, and keeping the virus contained.
As per the notification from the Thromde, Nu 25 will be charged for parking around the Zangtopelri area for half an hour, and for other areas Nu 20 will be charged for the same duration.
Wangchuk, a local, pointed out that there is less traffic congestion in the core town area these days and even the numbers of vehicles on the road have decreased drastically.
“It’s too early for the Thromde to resume parking fees with the residents trying to recover from the aftershock of the prolonged lockdown, which saw many businesses permanently moving out of the once bustling city.”
Another resident, Sonam Dorji, said if the parking fee collection is for generating employment opportunities for the youths then the Thromde should consider other avenues, where the town could benefit from their employment.
Looking at the current situation in Phuentsholing, where shopkeepers are gradually reopening their businesses, imposing a parking fee would be arbitrary.
“I have to park my car in the town, close to my shop and if I have to pay Nu 200 per day for parking fee, how will I ever recover from the losses we have incurred during the lockdown,” he said.
Karma Wangchuk, a businessman, feels resuming parking fees is unnecessary at the moment as many residents have left the town in hordes, leaving very few vehicles on the road.
Instead, he suggested, the Thromde should focus on completing all the pending works across the city before the pandemic situation is over.
As per the official record maintained by the Thromde, since April 17, around 4,767 people have already left the town, looking for employment and new source of livelihood.
Due to the exodus, Wangmo, a corporate employee, said there are plenty of parking spaces available even in the core town area.
As per the notification from the Thromde, the parking fee is being resumed to create employment for the youths.
“The outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the community has led to loss of job opportunities,” the notification states.
An official from the Thromde explained that the objective of parking operation and collection of fees is based on the efficient management of the existing parking spaces. It will also look on to restrict and discourage continual occupation of public parking spaces.
Moreover, he further said that the parking fee collection will also help to minimize traffic congestion and effective management of traffic in the core town area.
“It will also create awareness among the public towards the need for properly developed parking and enhance the environment through minimum usage of vehicles, resulting in pollution control,” the notification further reads.
Similarly, with the funds generated from the fee, long term parking proposals and construction of user friendly parking spaces would be achieved.
Currently, the Thromde is planning to recruit around 15 parking fee collectors to cover the town area.
Sonam Tashi from Phuentsholing