Mission Pothole to the rescue

Recently volunteers have started coming forward to mend the innumerable potholes in the capital with the goal to improve the conditions of the roads. The first round of work was carried around the Election Commission Office, one of the most common areas where public pleaded for an improvement in the conditions of the road and they also covered few sections of the roads around Changzamtog area with around twenty seven volunteers coming forward.

The most recent and second phase of the initiative saw commitment from 60 individuals to help the coordinator around the pothole plagued areas of Olakha and Chang Jalu.

With the leap in the number of volunteers coming forward, the coordinator, Namgyel Wangchuk who came up with the initiative said that their next works will be carried around the busy roads that need their attention.

Perturbed by the pictures posted by the Bhutan Pothole Police on facebook in regard to the ugly potholes around the city and the disgruntlement expressed by the motorist and the commuters alike, Namgyel Wangchuk took it upon himself to transmute his dissatisfaction into action by initiating to fill the potholes in the city. He coordinated the event by gathering volunteers to come forward in rendering their hands to start filling the innumerable potholes around.

“I was also motivated by the recent picture posted by Bhutan Pothole Police on Facebook about Mr. Dupchu, a taxi driver in Mongar who filled the potholes in and around the town all by himself. His lone contribution inspired and motivated many but the question is who wants to get their hands dirty. Hence, I volunteered to repair the potholes by liaising with Bhutan Pothole Police. It is interesting to note that as an individual we are an ordinary being but it is amazing that our cumulative efforts can bring wonderful changes in the society,” said Namgyel Wangchuk.

Namgyel Wangchuk said that the biggest setback in fulfilling such goal is the mindset of the society. “There are people who think it is useless in carrying out such initiative. One of the most common stands of the public is, ‘It is not our responsibility’. I think what every Bhutanese must understand is there is no other bigger responsibility than serving our own country in our small ways. We must help each other grow.”

Although the team did not seek any assistance from the relevant stakeholders in carrying their works, Namgyel Wangchuk said that Greener Way, the country’s first waste management company has been helping in the transportation of the raw materials.

Thimphu Thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee said that socially, the volunteers are setting positive examples in the society to be more responsible and to be mindful while availing the facilities provided by the Thromde instead of damaging them. However, the Thrompon said that they have already allocated the works to the contractors to blacktop the potholes around the city under the Asian Development Bank (ADB) contract package. “Now with the end of monsoon season, our contractors will start their road repairing works and all the major potholes will be covered. Irresponsible individuals will be held accountable for the damages done to the road, either through the leaked water pipes on the road or the diggings done without our approval,” said Kinlay Dorjee.

“The whole objective of doing this is to bring people together and instigate sense of volunteerism amongst the youths. As a small nation, we have no time to sit back and rest. Everybody has to come together to help one another grow, and this is the reason we are totally executing the idea of the citizen’s responsibility in simple ways. Potholes have been a very common issue on the road and I guess it’s always better to do something rather than complain about it,” said Namgyel Wangchuk.

He added that for now, they have using the demolition waste to fill in the potholes, but will gradually sort to more sustainable and quality means of approach.

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