Dark, dangerous and dirty underpasses

The two road underpasses under Doebum Lam, one below the Swimming Pool Complex and the other at the junction below Changangkha Middle Secondary School, contribute significantly to traffic flow and road safety, especially for school going children. But these underpasses are poorly maintained and used, as they are unlit and dark, dirty and dingy.

Migmar, 23, explained that every day, pedestrians are forced to walk through the filthy underpass with grimy walls and littered pathways.

“It’s the same every day. There is no light, and everything is strewn about. It’s fine during the day, but as dusk falls, it gets dark, and you literally need your phone’s flashlight. Nobody has gone to the trouble of installing the lights and cleaning it. Unfortunately, more people spit and leave trash there,” he said.

Dema Yeshey, 26, said that the walls are filthy and scribbled all over. “Some nights, young people can be seen loitering around the underpasses. It is dangerous to pass by because there is no light, and even if something happens, no one will know who did it. It also smells bad. It appears that people are urinating here because the smell of urine is strong,” she said.

Karma, 25, a guide stated that the first impression of the undercrossing passage beneath the swimming pool is that it is pitch black and malodorous.

She said that there isn’t even a single tube light in the passage, making it a risky proposition to use, especially at night.

“There is usually litter thrown everywhere and very little attention given to cleaning. Also, people do not use it after dark because they are afraid of the dark or are afraid that something bad will happen,” said.

She added that the right authority should take the responsibility to maintain the cleanliness of the underpasses on a regular basis, like twice a week.

“People should also be held responsible for taking their trash with them because this is not a dumping site but a place to walk and cross,” she added.

According to Thimphu Thromde, the maintenance and rectification works have been carried out in the underpasses.

Previously, there was also a drainage issue, whereby the seepage was flooding the underpass, and this has also been rectified and the drainage has been diverted.

Thromde Media Focal Person said that while the Thromde tried to fix the lights, the fittings for the previously installed system are no longer available, and the entire lighting system needs to be replaced, which the Thromde will try to do during this fiscal year.

However, in the past, whenever Thromde installed the lights in the underpasses, it was repeatedly stolen, vandalized or broken, which makes it hard to replace and maintain.

“Thromde also routinely cleans the underpasses, but people constantly throw their trash or human waste, making it difficult to maintain. Ultimately, no matter how much effort we put into improving and maintaining the underpasses, if the public doesn’t take equal responsibilities to care for the area, our efforts go in vain,” she said.

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