House owners and shopkeepers along the Norzin Lam are not happy with the decision to permanently close the Norzin Lam to vehicle traffic. Norzin Lam is to be transformed into a pedestrian-only area after the construction of a two-level parking building is complete by December next year.
There are 252 parking slots along Norzin Lam which will be taken care by the multi-level parking building.
The house owners and shopkeepers stated that the permanent closure of Norzin Lam might hamper their business and also impact the tax amount they have to pay to the government.
House owners are worried about renting out their flats as people may not want to live in a pedestrian-only area. Similarly, shopkeepers, especially hardware shop owners and grocery store owners are worried about the impact of no vehicle road on their business.
“If Norzin Lam is closed permanently, there will be less people who would come and go, and shopping won’t be convenient for those who buy groceries in bulk,” stated a concerned shop owner.
A building owner in Norzin Lam stated his worries about where to park his car if the road is closed to vehicles. He said, “We can’t always park our car in multi-level parking, all the way turning around to park our cars, it would be inconvenient for us,” adding that he feels this is a concern for all the people who own buildings and shops along the Norzin Lam.
Another man said that the closure will not only create inconvenience for the people, but there are chances that the area will become prone to crime. He also said that closing the road to vehicles might lead to more traffic congestion elsewhere.
They said that they have approached Thromde, requesting to resolve Thimphu Thromde’s proposal on closing the Norzin Lam for vehicular traffic and relocation of hardware stores and drayangs.
In a resolution drawn during Thimphu Thromde Tshogdue, Norzin Lam will be closed on the first Sunday of every month starting June this year.
Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the shop keepers and building owners must see the national interest. “It is not that we are working for an individual. We have to see the national interest, whereby we have to implement as per the Thromde plan,” he said.
He also said that they would be meeting with the people of Norzin Lam, and after which they will come to a final decision.
“Thimphu Structure Plan was approved by Lhengye Zhungtshog, in which it was clearly mentioned that Norzin Lam will be closed permanently. Therefore, we have to act accordingly, seeing the national interest. We can’t take decisions with personal views,” the Thrompon said.