We do not have to wait for disasters to happen; we do not have to count the lives lost to realise our responsibilities, each individually.

Yet, this is the problem that seems to be deeply embedded in the very cultural heart of the Bhutanese people.

It is sickening how everyone pretends to be deeply concerned but do far less than what they really ought to. The problem with us this day is needless recognition that does not serve any purpose. This is serve serve us no good in the long term. 

Let us home in on the reality. It takes courage to do so.

A six-year-old boy dies because in his small and innocent mind he was taking a shortcut. His younger friend suffered a serious injury.

Let us also talk about the responsibilities that we did not carry well. We have a standing regulation to refer to that is supposed to guarantee safety to all where mishaps like this can happen – Building Regulation 2018.

What good is it when a regulation does nothing good to the society that it is designed to benefit? Surely public – national resources – were put to use to draft and endorse such promises.

Now, we have only one thing to look at – to fix the accountability on whomsoever’s head it squarely falls on. Unless this is done, there will not be any improvement in the way things work in our society. Change ought not to be for the sake of it. The problem is with the lack of courage to fix accountability on those who fail to discharge their duty as is expected of them.

According to Building Regulation 2018, “The owner of the land on which a building is being constructed, altered or demolished shall ensure that: a) the work site is closely supervised by an engineer who is experienced in supervision; b) the work site has suitable scaffolding, platforms and nets; c) materials used in the construction comply with minimum standards prescribed by the Building Code; d) suitable signage is provided for workers on site and for members of the public (including drivers and pedestrians) using nearby roads and footpaths; e) workers are provided with suitable safety equipment and clothing, including helmets, safety belts, boots and working gloves.”

In the recent incident, there was none of this. The fact is our construction companies blatantly bypass the laws, rules and regulations. Where do we see construction workers with safety helmets and boots, for example?

If the contractor failed, how and why he failed must be explained. Only then will we get to those who did not ensure the safety of the public. The least we can do is not set such a precedent where public officials can easily get off the hook. Why are we spending so much on developing rules and regulation otherwise?