Development is more than a tactile reality. Sometimes it is better expressed in terms of stinks and noises, and so, it is a complex experience. As Thimphu’s population continues to grow, the many complexities will grow with it. The real challenge is: how are we to handle the pressure that is imminent and the ones that come as the unavoidable part of the process called development process?

Thimphu continues to grow because it can’t be helped as a capital city. But then, when the essential service systems are failing, the nation’s capital city isn’t growing well. There is something called the structural plan for the city but the city residents seem to have lost respect for and faith in altogether.

But more than anything else, reality must count. Our service systems have been lagging far behind the speed of the so-called development. That’s probably why our roads are never right or safe what with repeated digging and glorious bursting of grey, brown and yellow matters every time there is a slight rain. What is painfully shocking is that no one takes responsibility.

If we must talk about the latest development, it is the automated sewerage system for Thimphu that comes with the promise to be much more sensible and efficient. At least there won’t be foul smell along the highway. There are scientific proofs backing the viability of such an initiative.

For example, by 2021, the total capacity of the current sewerage ponds in Babesa should be at least 16.50 million litres per day, which means the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant by 2027 could leave us short of 2.7 MLD.

Putting all these problems and more in the perspective, are we planning right? The city must and will continue to grow, but failing to provide efficient services to the residents will be wrong. Who pays in the end? These are the vital questions that will come from many corners. The true development thinkers and eminent blabbermouths must make some sensible noise because we can ill afford to lose time. More importantly, we are talking about the development of our own city and its future.

It is critically important that do not lose sight of our development priorities. There will be pressures from abroad but that is not relevant. In the real saga of development, voices count but sensible choices will have to be made. For Thimphu, it is fully functioning sewerage system keeping in view the pressure of growing population. All other arguments are irrelevant.