The Prize and Price of a Town

The idea of having a town in the first place is to have steady development and progress in that locality. It is also understood that having a municipal authority is to ensure that we have adequate and required facilities and infrastructures in place for those who live and work there. But on the other hand, there is a heavy price that we pay to host a town.

If there is a thromde, the residents can expect better services in terms of clean drinking water supply, well maintained roads, improved medical centers staffed with adequate doctors and better telecommunications facilities to name a few. And then there is something called town that we lose so much to towns. We lose our fertile land. We lose our paddy fields. We lose our thick forest. Losing our fertile land to the developmental work is one thing and then there our goal of food self-sufficiency. Given that our fertile fields are turning into buildings and highways, our need to import food items will only grow.

In this is the capital city by the way – residents face water shortage on a continual basis. Some residents have to carry water from faraway places.And interestingly in some places water is left to flow in the drains. It seems water is sufficient for all in the capital only if we manage it properly. Some residents only get water during certain time of the day and it is inconvenient. Waste management is a serious issue. Public toilets are far and few and poorly managed, if at all.

Road is another issue here – there are only potholes and pool of water collected everywhere. And when we have many such District and satellite towns more and more farmers would leave their villages in the hope of more comfortable lives.

Opinion by Ngawang Phuntsho

The writer works in an NGO and lives in Thimphu

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