Thrompon election is underway. From Saturday, April 10, started the common forum for the candidates, which will go on until April 18.

These are developments that should, in an ideal situation, get the people talking, and moving. This is not happening. What this could lead to in the long-term is voter apathy, which is a serious disease in a democracy.

What is clear is that our laws are screaming to be relooked into. Our cities are growing in a way wherein only a handful (and decreasing) thram holders get to vote even as city residents are growing by the year.

The question, naturally, is what are our lawmakers doing? What is stopping them to discharge their constitutional duties, to make laws that benefit the people?

Here is an example. A road construction began in 2017 from the upper side of Changbangdu in Thimphu, which was supposed to go all the way down to Debsi. What this road could have done is decongest the city significantly. Traffic jam is already a serious problem in the capital.

The 1.3km road should have been completed, as thromde promised to the people then, in three months’ time. That scar of indecision and inefficacy on the part of the many agencies involved is there for us to see today. 

Five years on, only the first cutting of the road has been completed. But this is just a case out of many we have.

Thimphu is growing and likewise, many other towns and cities. If there is one narrative in common among the growing towns and cities, it is poor and deteriorating services from the thromde. If the people must endure such sad, blatant, and wasteful professional services, why should they pay for the services at all?

And what is the meaning of the repeated elections? For whom are such elections important?

Water and waste are the major problems in most Bhutanese towns and cities. These issues, however, do not feature in the thrompon elections because residents have no say. And then we talk about city plans in which we invest millions of Ngultrums.

There is something awfully wrong the way plans are coming down to the people. One way, we talk about reducing wasteful expenditure; the other way we are promoting it. Forget democracy, if such things are let to ride for long, people will lose faith in the governance system itself.

Name-dropping has become a practice among officials high and low. That’s why we are not getting anything done. How do we solve this problem? The onus lies on the lawmakers because you are the people’s representative. Bring us the change!

In the meanwhile, the people must begin asking questions. Nothing will happen otherwise. 

Reflecting deeply: what a waste of resources and shame, put in the perspective of national plan! If we can plan and implement development activities from our own (internal) resources, that would be a different story, but even so, what a waste, of thought and action altogether!

This, indeed, should be the theme of the on-going thrompon elections.