Yangyel Lhaden

The incessant rain for the past three days has not only damaged paddy fields and roads, but also caused damage in the capital city.

In Dondrup Lam of Hongkong Market area, clogged drains caused surface runoff and thromde officials have had to close the road to traffic since October 19.

Strong surface runoff not only flooded roads but also broke concrete slabs that make up part of the footpath in front of Burger Point. The meat shop below the road was flooded with water and sewage debris.

Thimphu thromde officials said they had to break a railing of the footpath beside the thromde’s meat and vegetable shop and a stretch of the road to allow water to flow.

The site engineer, Teknath Suberi, said that as a temporary measure, a large diameter high density polyethylene pipe was laid and the road was covered with a sub-granular base yesterday.

He said the road was expected to be opened to traffic soon after. “ We are expecting to open the road by afternoon.”

Teknath Suberi said that during inspection into the cause of surface runoff water, they found out that the water flowing in the hume pipes exceeded the capacity. “Waste and debris also added to the blockage.”

He said that water from the Swimming Pool area where the thromde blocked the passage due to seepage issues was flowing into Hongkong Market hume pipes. This was in addition to water from the Memorial Choeten and an increasing number of residents connected to this hume pipe.

A vendor in Hongkong Market said that since the drain was covered with slabs in 2020, the surface run-off became a problem.

Workers with the thromde clearing the block also cleaned up construction materials from footpaths, such as sacks and plywood, which had added to the blockage.

Teknath Suberi said the contractor will be held liable and his liabilities will be deducted from defect liability period. “For a period of one year, 10 percent of total construction cost is withheld with the thromde to deduct if there is any liability.”

A vendor in Hongkong Market said that it is not the first time the surface run-off has entered the meat shop, but it was common every summer. “The thromde should have prioritised solving the drainage probably after the summer.”

Teknath Suberi said that the thromde will conduct a management meeting today and decide how to revamp the drainage system in Hongkong Market. “Either hume pipes or reinforced cement concrete will be constructed.”

He said though bigger pipes will be used for drainage, it might not solve the surface runoff issue as long as people continue to dump garbage in the drains.

Teknath Suberi said three months ago, while clearing blockages along the same stretch, they recovered an old blanket.

The ongoing construction of a footpath near the police headquarters below the Memorial Choeten also held many PET bottles and other plastics that had been dumped in the drain, which formed blockages. The surface runoff from the area flooded the road along the stretch.

Edited by Tashi Dema