Who Will Pay for the Damage?

Road blocks and Landslides have a long history in our country and as of now there is no sign of learning from the mistakes. We don’t have to worry about waterways and railways like other countries but as is our Bhutanese nature we even forget to worry about what we have to worry about.

We have tried doing big things like the big worlds but we have lost our grip over small things. We have more airports that brought in more shame-ours must be the only airports with potholes. We have built bigger roads and started having bigger landslides-thank god the rainy season is very short otherwise there won’t be a road left on the hills.

Someone lost his land cruiser to the landslide near Dochula but he is happy it spared him, so is my friend who lost his pickup yesterday along with five other vehicles when a tree fell on to them. I was a victim myself, I was greeted with rolling stones at Nobding last year and in last few years we heard of many mishaps caused my roadblocks andlandslides. But in none of these cases people are held respon¬sible, except the drivers.

I was seeing my friend who was a victim of Dochula mishap yesterday and asked him who will repair his ve¬hicle. He looked at me in surprise, as if I stole the question from his mouth. Yes, who will pay for the damage?

It›s time we differentiate between the natural andman-made landslides. Natural landslides are the ones where slides occur without the intervention of human activities, and those that are causing problems these days are for us to judge.

Road widening projects are vital for the growing economy of the coun¬try but what they leave behind is a ticking time bomb. They save cost by focusing on the road and forgetting the hills they have damaged, even an ordinary observer like me can see how many rocks are waiting to fall, and how many trees are ready come on to the newly widened Thimphu-Wang-due highway.

Disaster management should in¬tervene, do hazard hunting and let the road builder rectify the poten¬tial disasters before roads are taken over. Accountability should come to Bhutan now.

In the wake of time, when we dare say that if a child commits crime par¬ents bear the punishment, we can rightfully take road contractors to court in such mishaps. In air crash investigation we see how a screw mak¬ing company goes jail because it was a faulty screw that caused the crash.

But here we are talking about something far bigger than a screw, for everybody to see and still we let it go. If we let somebody pay once, perhaps it may never repeat again. So who will pay for the Damage?

By Passang Tshering

The writer also known as Passu is a teacher at the Bajothang Higher Secondary School

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