Thinley Namgay

If hand washing is the best and the cheapest way of staying clean and keep at bay the new coronavirus, there are initiatives to make people understand and give access to hand washing.

The Centenary Farmer Market (CFM) management has installed four hand washing stations along with soap at the CFM area on March 13.

CMF’s Assistant Manager, Neten, said that with the notification from the health ministry to wash our hands to protect from the COVID-19, his team had arranged the facility to help vendors and customers.

Vegetable vendors were glad with the initiative.

A 26-year-old vegetables vendor, Sonam Yangden, said that it helped them a lot. “Unlike before, we are now washing our hands frequently. Our customers are also using it and it will reduce the risk.”

“Earlier we have to wash our hands from the public toilet and we have to pay every time,” said Sonam Yangden.

Hawkers at the CFM are also happy.

Durga Ghalley, 38, from Samtse had been selling momo and tea around the CFM and town area for last three years.

He said that the initiative is cost effective. “Till now I managed tissue paper for the customers to clean their hands. I don’t take it now. Customers wash their hands directly from the tap after eating.”

The CFM team fetches water from nearby Wangchu and it is not drinkable.

People are not allowed to wash their utensils. A close-circuit camera surveillance is also placed to monitor how people are using it.

A teacher of Jigme Losel Primary School, Tshering Lham, also set up portable water containers behind the CFM on March 7 for the public to use.

“At our school, we already adopted such practice for our students and we called it tippy tap. I brought this idea to the public place amidst growing tensions of COVID-19,” said Tshering Lham.

She said that she fetched water for the first two days. “Now the residents and taxi drivers are taking their personal initiative to fill up the containers.  To bring changes in the society, one must set example. People will naturally follow.”

Meanwhile, the Mawongpa Water Solution Private Limited has also installed drinking and hand washing stations around the town.