Yangyel Lhaden 

If you have parked your car on the roadside and fined by the traffic police on duty, try to pass on the fine to your landlord. This could become possible, although you have to risk looking for another flat.

Thimphu thromde is giving another shot at the parking rule. The thromde had announced restriction of parking along the roadside in the core places, as they are causing traffic congestion especially during rush hours. Violators will be penalized according to traffic rules.

This initiative from the thromde is to force house owners to use specified space within registered boundary to park vehicles. The thromde’s Development Control Regulation 2016 where it sates that “a residential building should have one parking slot for each dwelling unit with three or more bedrooms.”

Thimphu Thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee said that the tenants should go look for houses with parking space. Thromde officials said that tenants should complain to the thromde if their landlords are not providing parking space.

Finding a parking space is a problem. While some landlords do not have adequate parking space for the tenants, some tenants own more than one car. A house owner in Taba said that she had enough parking spaces for all her tenants, but some of her tenants had more than one car.

Yangzom, a resident in Taba said that she was nearly fined for parking along the road. “After much pleading and explaining there was no parking space near her house, I was not fined,” she said. That night, I parked my car faraway and walked to my way home, she added.

Lieutenant Sonam Gaki with the Traffic Division in Thimphu said that her office issued repeated offenders transport infringement notices (TIN) for parking on non-designated areas.  For tenants, since most tenants were not aware, they focused on advocating on parking rules before directly issuing TIN, she said.

The Thrompon said that all building constructions were approved with an agreement that 60 percent of the plot boundary would be used for parking purposes.  “It is difficult to monitor thousands of buildings in Thimphu. There are only about 200 employees in the thromde,” he said.

If owners are not providing parking space, tenants could sue them, especially if traffic police are penalising them. A lawyer said it was a serious negligence and failure of thromde and other relevant agencies to not being able to implement the thromde’s rule to reserve 60 percent of the plot boundary for the parking purposes.

He said that if the tenants were fined because of lack of parking space, the tenants could file a Class Action Suit under Section 149 of the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code- against thromde, RSTA and Traffic.

There are many examples around the world of how such agencies were held accountable, he said. “After the September 11 attack, the Wall Street firm Cantor sued American Airlines for their of negligence in allowing five terrorists to board the plane and crashed into the World Trade Centre killing their employees and demanded USD 1 billion, after insurance recoveries,” said the lawyer.

Most houses in Thimphu do not have a parking space and the basements once approved for parking are turned into shops and residential space. The thromde imposed penalties in terms of cash on house owners if they converted basement parking to commercial and residential houses.

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the penalties were levied so far, but henceforth, during inspection and renewal of occupancy certificate, house owners who violated thromde rules and regulation would see basic amenities like water and electricity severed.