Road safety and transport authority (RSTA) officials say it is the responsibility of the Thimphu Thromde to provide safe roads within an urban area. Therefore, if any motor crashes were to occur because of poorly maintained roads the Thromde would be held accountable.
“While we acknowledge the contribution and achievements of the Thromde in providing safer transport system in Throm areas, we must also understand that it is the responsibility of Thromde to ensure safer roads by resurfacing the roads at regular intervals,” said the new appointed director general of RSTA, Pemba Wangchuk.
One of the mandates of the RSTA is to provide for the regulation and development of safe, reliable, efficient transport system in the country and ensure the highest level of safety and security of the passenger and freight transport system in compliance with the national law.
“How can we provide safer transport system when the roads are so bad with potholes in Throm areas,” a RSTA official said. “Potholes are a leading concern in Throm areas and causes major frustration among motorists as it can cause severe damage to a vehicle and the driver can be left stranded due to tyre puncture, rim impairments or damaged wheel alignment or suspension. In extreme cases, it can also cause mishaps and if that happens, RSTA will charge Thimphu Thromde according to the law,” he said.
Thimphu Thromde’s Chief Engineer of the Infrastructure Division, Sangay Wangdi, said that vehicle tax is collected by RSTA but maintenance work is assigned to the Thromde.
He said the city crews are always busy patching and repaving roads but they also run into unexpected challenges tackling around 246 kms of roads in the capital area.
He said that providing permanent repair is not possible. “Our methods are not intended to provide permanent repair but to provide a means of filling potholes so that we can reduce the extent of hazard. With the arrival of summer season, potholes are sprouting across the city. The money needed to fill them is hard to find because the cost of fixing potholes runs into millions.”
RSTA’s Karma Pemba said that during the stakeholder meeting for the second draft of the Road Safety and Transport Bill 2017, the authority proposed a provision for maintaining roads in the throm areas and also reducing vehicles. “I feel that it would be so much better if we improve public transportation,” he said. “It would also be so much safer if thromde could take safety measures at construction sites like placing sign boards. There are lots of construction works in Thimphu, everywhere holes are being dug and there is not a single board to warn the people that this area could be dangerous.”
Thromde chief engineer Sangay Wangdi they are also are concerned about safety and awareness is being done through media. “We are informing the people about the risks and also how to avoid it,” he said.