Close to 200 truckloads of soil dumped into the Thimchhu between the sewerage plant and the disposal site of Greener Way at Babesa encroached almost 20 meters into the river, and has nearly altered the flow of the river.
The National Environment Commission (NEC) recently issued a letter to Thimphu Thromde to seek reasons for the ‘approval’ of soil dumped into the river.
“If there is no approval, a penalty of Nu 50,000 would be imposed,” said an environment officer with the NEC.
The NEC officer said that the penalty is not of interest but it must be ensured that whoever is responsible has to restore the place, as close to its original state as possible.
The NEC could also ask them to take away 200 truckloads of soil from the site so that the penalty is meted-out commensurate to the act.
“We don’t have to invoke laws but it is visible to everyone passing by that stretch, to take notice. The whole flow of the river was disturbed,” said an NEC official.
A catch-22 situation is now in creation for the Thromde, who initially approved dumping so that plantation works could be carried out.
The Thromde officers who visited the site said that the Thrompon had given the permission to a relative of the Babesa Thuemi, Namgay Tshering to carry out the dumping.
The Chief Environment Officer with Thimphu Thromde, Pema Dorji said that the soil that encroached into the river was illegal dumping and that the penalty for it can be estimated on verification at the site. “We are actually not happy that they dumped the soil in the river,” he said.
Under the current system, the fine is Nu 9,000 per truckload.
The environment officer said that Thimphu Thromde discouraged people to dump into the river by allocating dumpsites for those who request for such activities, to have more planned-dumping.
“Most people comply with that. If there is someone dumping in the river then it is also not acceptable to us and the verbal approval might have been to dump soil but not in the river,” he said.
The issue is being discussed internally at Thimphu Thromde as they have to get back to NEC within a week’s time.
An inspector with the Thromde, Dorji Wangchuk said that after receiving the letter from NEC, he had discussed it with the Thuemi on how to solve it.
He said that the Thuemi is answerable to the NEC.