Thimphu Thromde declines to disclose budget breakdown of Clock Tower facelift

When Thimphu Thromde completed the Clock Tower facelift and made it public on 24 September 2022, Thromde received many criticisms, and still, to this date, most people are talking about how unsatisfied they are with the Thromde’s work.

People are also speculating how Nu 3 million (mn) has been spent on such a simple makeover.

The Bhutanese requested Thromde to provide a budget breakdown, however, Thromde replied that they cannot disclose the budget breakdown.

“We cannot disclose the budget breakdown. Independent entities like RAA will carry out the necessary auditing,” a Thromde official said.

Thromde stressed that it has been clear from the start that the Clock Tower was receiving only a facelift rather than a renovation work, particularly in anticipation of the arrival of the tourists.

According to Thimphu Thromde, the water fountains which had been defunct for a very long time were unsafe, and the upkeep was too difficult, which is why they were removed.  Previously, the Clock Tower had several different platform levels. Due to lack of time, Thromde was only able to remove one level, mainly to make the Clock Tower square accessible to users of all ages and abilities.

Thromde reasoned that the Mani Lhakors were removed as it was not being used for its original purpose, but rather people were using it to hide rubbish, throw cigarette butts and spat on the structure.

“Moreover, some of the slates were damaged which is why they have been removed, but they will be relocated in an area where people can make full use of it.  The sitting galley which was full of cracks and chips have all been re-plastered,” the official said.

Meanwhile, residents and passersby claim that the previous Clock Tower was much better and that the current one looks empty.

Sonam Deki, a resident in Zilukha, claimed that although there used to be nice benches and other attractive objects that drew people in, the Clock Tower currently just has white cement benches and nothing to see or appreciate.

“At least it was beautiful before. We were enthused about the Clock Tower’s final appearance when construction on it first began, but we were disappointed after the completion,” she remarked.

Rinchen 33 said, “Nu 3 million for demolishing the old structure is absurd. We appreciate that Thromde has given it a makeover, however, it appears to be empty. We miss the old one, which had chairs, Mani Lhakhor, and flower pots.”

She suggested that Thromde reinstall everything back so it is restored back to the original appearance.

According to Ugyen, a tour guide, the Thimphu Clock Tower is a main attraction in the core city,  and that a simple makeover is unacceptable. Tourists have already arrived in the nation, and the Clock Tower is empty, with nothing to see or enjoy.

“The scenery was spectacular when there were benches, Mani Lhakhor, and flower pots, but there is nothing to admire now. Thimphu Thromde, I feel, will respond positively to public criticism and remodel,” he said.

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