Thimphu Thromde has decided to levy the penalties for what it says are illegal activities within Thromde. The penalties ranges from Nu 5,000 to Nu 45,000.
As per the notification issued by Thromde on Thursday, the rectifications must be done within one month from the date of the notification, after which thromde will conduct inspections and penalize accordingly.
It said that the penalties are a onetime fine excluding the cost of reinstatement. Reinstatement cost must be borne by the defaulter.
For a second offence, penalty shall include an additional 25 percent on the first offence fee.
According to Thromde these penalties are initiated to address the proper and optimal utilization of the public properties in place. The social responsibility and accountability must be shouldered by all the residents/ beneficiaries of Thimphu thromde.
Thromde will levy a Nu 5,000 fine for parking on a footpath. According to an official from the Traffic Division of RBP the thromde must have made the decision to impose a fine as per their mandate.
“Usually thromde used to inform Traffic Division before implementing, however, we have not been informed this time,” he said.
Additionally, Nu 10,000 will be charged for roadside car washing. An official from the National Environment Commission stated that areas under thromde will be penalized by thromde, while those under dzongkhags will be penalized by dzongkhags.
“Though the NEC has developed such rules, implementation will be done out by thromde and dzongkhags,” he explained.
Meanwhile, after thromde posted the notification on social media, while few people supported the measures the majority in the comments section criticized thromde for bringing such penalties. There were also those who asked Thromde if they will pay fines for not ensuring water or bursting sewage pipes etc while others had doubts about implementation.
There is a Nu 45,000 fine for either connecting roof water or kitchen and bathroom waste water to the main sewer lines.
Former Urban planning specialist of Ministry of Home and Work Human Settlement, Meghraj Adhikari who was responsible for overseeing designs and plans by Thromdes pointed out that the sewerage should be designed to take discharge of not only toilet waste but also kitchen and bathroom water.
He said that with two large treatment plants at Babesa and some mini plants the capacity to treat the waste water should have been adequate.
“Discharge of kitchen waste water in the open is not healthy. In the past all waste water was connected to sewer main line with the bypassing of septic tank. Now why is there a change of policy? Before imposing penalty there should be awareness program in all media with technical justification,” he said.
Former Health Secretary Nima Wangdi said that earlier bathroom and kitchen waste water was to be connected to the sewage system. If all waste water is let out to open drainage our drains may be over flowing as they mostly get blocked.
Kencho Tshetsen asked what if Thimphu Thromde and in collaboration with BPC, Telecom dig roads and keep unattended and who is going to pay the fine?
Rinchen Wangdi asked what penalty is levied for overflowing the sewers at the heart of the city or for improper drainage by the expressways or street roads.
Orgyen Paljore asked the Thromde to show the drain water pipe to connect the bathroom and kitchen waste water.
Chador Wangdi asked if the city has a gray water treatment plant otherwise releasing kitchen and bathroom waste water into the natural environment is hazardous too. “Try to bring solution to the problem than issuing blank notification,” he said.
Damcho Tshering proposed compensation by Thromde to the residents at 10% of the penalty, which is about Nu 5000 to the local single resident or the complainant. No water supply beyond 24 hours, no repair of dug roads beyond 14 days, not cleaning the drains beyond 1 week of complaint date, repair of footpath beyond 14 days, surface water over flooding the drains for consecutive 3rd time and improper sewer connections by Thromde people leading to leakages.
He said besides administrative accountability on the paper, accountability could also be shared across the table with the public.
“While we are penalized for our defaults as a means of awareness, let agencies and working bureaucrats also bear the same awareness pinch,” said Damcho.
Tshering Dorji an assistant engineer of Thimphu Thromde commented saying that the public are the offenders but they don’t see the things that they do on a daily basis to cause all the problems.
He said that they cause the drain blockages and the sewer blockages, sometimes they dig the roads without approval to lay their pipelines, they don’t take care of their wastes yet they want Thromde to do all the things just because they pay tax.
“I support this decision so that things get better. If they are penalized heavily, we may not have to clear the blockages on a daily basis or do cleanings,” he said.