The first public appearance of the capital city’s mayor after getting elected for a second term didn’t go well with some of the capital city’s residents.

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee, with a team of inspectors were penalizing people who were littering the city and not following the thromde’s rule. Words following the inspection team was that the Thrompon had nothing to fear, as his job for the next five was secured last month.

Being an elected Thrompon is difficult.  They can be unpopular if they are strict with rules. The city and residents will suffer if the elected leader takes a populist decision and let people break rules- from littering to breaking construction norms, for instance.

If the capital city has to be clean, those who dirty them should be penalized. The carrot rule is not working. In fact, the numerous voluntary cleaning campaigns organized has emboldened those who run business or shoppers to litter the city. There is a notion that someone is cleaning the city. Nobody takes responsibility.

Building owners should be fined. Those who run businesses should be fined, too if they are contributing to the problem. Ours could be among the few towns and cities where, for instance, prohibited area for dumping waste becomes a dumpsite. The thromde alone cannot clean the city. It is the responsibility of all.

The thromde is cash strapped and there is revenue from penalizing building owners or businesses.  It is difficult to part with money even if it is a big business house or a rich landlord. Therefore, monetary fines would work. We welcome the initiative.

But rules should be clear. People should be well informed in advance so that there are no hard feelings when they are penalized. It works in many cities. People pay for violating rules. It is normal.

The rule should also be fair. It should apply to all without discriminating “big and small” or “rich and poor”. The thromde will win the support of the masses if the rule is implemented fair and square.

If the thromde can collect Nu 104,300 in three hours, either there is a good source of revenue or the city’s residents are not cooperating. The city will be lot cleaner and more beautiful when the amount drops to a bare minimum.

The rule should not be limited to the core town. It should apply to all the places between Changtagang and Ngabirongchu. The thromde will be richer by millions if it takes its rule seriously and apply to all areas. Beyond the city, the local governments could take up.

There is a lot of work to do. Without budget, the biggest hurdle, our drains cannot be cleared, potholes cannot be filled and garbage cannot be managed. The revenue should be ploughed back to improve the city by beautifying it or improving facilities and infrastructures.

Surprise checks should be frequent because people have tricks up their sleeves to avoid being penalized. Sooner or later, people will imbibe the culture of maintaining their surrounding clean.

A good deterrent is the warning of disconnecting service like water supply and electricity, if building owners are not cooperating. Without services owners and tenants will be affected.

The thromde officials should stick to their rule and not waver. They have finally found a solution and this will work if monitored closely.