The government’s Pedestrian Day came under the public scanner since it was born but authorities tucked it into everybody’s life just the same.
This time around the construction industry people have raised their voices on the day. They say works are bogged-down to almost a standstill on Pedestrian day, observed every Tuesday of the week.
Construction works have all become disorganized and delayed said most of them, as they have to leave their trucks and machines idle though charges are all paid up inclusive of Tuesdays.
It proved highly inconvenient when the vehicle movement is restricted and procurement of construction materials is a need of the hour every hour.
The Construction Association Board (CAB) president Ugyen Tshechup said the construction sector has to execute time bound works and they undergo lot of pressure to complete them.
“Losing one Tuesday in a week is not an issue but to lose 52 Tuesdays in a year is like losing around two months,” he said.
He said there are many factors which delay work like road blocks, unfavorable climate. Add to that 52 days without any vehicle movement is not easy for contractors to work.
He said government should also consider the pedestrian day during tendering process and give extra days from the very beginning.
“For the tourism sector special buses are allowed to move around but why can’t government give due consideration to construction sector which also contributes to develop the country,” he said.
CAB Secretary Cheku Dukpa said “cannot comment on Government’s decision but there is a direct influence on business sectors in particular”.
Bhutan Engineering’s Leki Dorji Norbu said “everything is pre-planned but with the uncertain situation it’s hard to get along with what they have planned”.
“Sunday would be the best day to observe pedestrian day as it is inconvenient for parents, students, workers to work on weekdays,” he said.
Neten Construction’s proprietor Neten Wangdi said they have to pay loan every month and when works are delayed they have to bear unnecessary penalties.
Apart from the high charges to hire taxis, he said that shops and some offices are closed on that day which further hinders procurement of materials and paper works that needs to be completed in a hurry.
He suggested having one Tuesday in a year as pedestrian day where all the factories, construction works and industries remained closed and only emergency services vehicles are allowed movement.
Construction owners say it takes great efforts to to ensure that materials are delivered on Mondays or after Tuesdays.
“One of the fundamental principles of democracy is freedom and I truly believe pedestrian day strongly resisted by the public has infringed on these very provisions,” said a construction owner.
A real estate agency owner said “Taxis and public transport vehicles cover about 600 kms more than usual on Pedestrian Day which contributes to air pollution”.
He said it is more sensible to introduce subsidized bus services for schools since more number of cars drive to drop children every day.