Mission Potholes, a volunteer group, that has taken the initiative to fill the potholes in the city’s road network, will continue with their volunteer service despite objections by the Thimphu Thromde office, which says it is in-charge of city infrastructure and maintenance.
In September 27 volunteers comprising students and employees came together to fill potholes in the roads at Changzamtog and Kawajangsa areas. In October, with increased volunteers, the work was carried out around Olakha and Chang Ja Lu.
While some thromde official appreciated and welcomed the service provided by the volunteers, few felt volunteers should let thromde do their work or at least work together.
An official of thromde said the thromde is indeed happy with young volunteers and their service but since the quality of their work and the raw material they use is poor and temporary, the thromde had to remove the stone and soil used, and replace it with the right material that would last long. “We just want them to let us do our work and we don’t know from where they get the materials and how the work is done,” the thromde official said.
He said that blacktopping most parts of roads in Thimphu has already begun and since the work is going on quite well, they are expecting that blacktopping of Thimphu’s 250 kilometres of roads will be completed within 10 months, much before the expected time.
Thromde’s Chief Engineer said the Thimphu Road Improvement Project (TRIP), with Nu 214.4 million from Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Nu 80.3 million from the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGOB), to resurface 250 kms of roads in Thimphu and construct city’s drains and footpaths started in May 2017. The work is divided into four parts and looked after by thromde’s engineers.
Volunteers said filling the potholes in and around Thimphu was to highlight the act of individual responsibilities in maintaining and managing public infrastructure. “The one thing that we always kept in mind was that it is not only thromde’s responsibility but every citizen is responsible. So the whole idea is active participation of citizens and that is how this particular initiative started,” the coordinator of mission potholes, Nawang P. Phuntsho said.
“No matter what the thromde says we shall continue our service and we refuse to accept that we are coming in their way and while we believe that thromde is working quite well on resurfacing and filling the potholes, thromde cannot cover all the areas. We work in areas that are unreachable, for instance, the road in Olakha around the old Election Commission Office that needs their attention has been left unattended for around 10 years.”
Nawang said the third round of their work will be carried out by end of November and they do not intend to interrupt thromde’s work but will continue working.