Infrastructures: Gelephu town looks spacious, neat and clean after the recent facelift. But there is a problem and it is not on the surface.

The well-covered drains are clogged and stink. The stretch from the Tashi Commercial Corporation lane towards the taxi parking and surrounding of Losel Cinema hall and its opposite have the dirtiest drains.

Most of the drains are covered with concrete slabs and iron ribbed closures. Small openings in between are blocked with plastic wrappers, sanitary napkins and cloth pieces impeding the water flow. Shopkeepers say that the concrete closures make it difficult for them to clean regularly.

On the cleanliness of the drains, while shopkeepers say its the thromde that should be cleaning at regular intervals to avoid clogging and the stench, thromde officials hold town residents responsible for the poor drainage.

A shopkeeper along the taxi-parking lane said the drains are already small; it is covered with heavy concrete slabs making it difficult for them to clean. “Individual shops can’t do much, thromde should find a permanent solution,” the shopkeeper said.

Another shopkeeper near the Losel Cinema hall said that although the thromde cleans the drains once in a while, it is clogged as soon as it is cleaned. “There is a need to find out why,” she said.

Thromde officials agree that the drains in those two stretches are often smelling foul and blocked. However they said cleaning it regularly wouldn’t help unless residents and shopkeepers learn to take care of their waste.

Sewage engineer, Dorji Khandu said wastes including plates, spoons, sanitary napkins and clothes were found every time they clean the drains. The problems are neither because of size nor from a fault in design of the drainage, but carelessness of the town residents, he said.

The existing drains were constructed between 2008 and 2009. “People should learn not to drain their waste. Unless people change their behavior nothing will improve,” Dorji Khandu said.

It is partly also because of the increased number of buildings in town, Senior Urban Planner Ashish Kr Chauhan said. However, it does not mean a fault in design, he said.

Thromde regularly removes the garbage clogging drains from the manhole chambers at regular intervals, he added.

Nirmala Pokhrel