Yangyel Lhaden

Meat vendors in Hongkong Market above the Norzin Lam dread rainy days. Every downpour floods their shops with water mixed with raw sewage.

The vendors resorted to different measures to stop the stormwater from entering their place but in vain.

The stormwater enters through the left entrance of the meat shops and rainwater floods the ground floor.

One of the meat vendors said last week the meat vendors had to drain the water and clean the space twice.

She said it only took a few minutes of heavy rain to expose the poor status of the drainage system. “Within minutes the ground floor is flooded with stormwater with water level as high as  80cm.”

A pipe under the road drains water from the areas above the road at the entrance of meat shops. He said that the surface runoff water from the road also enters the ground floor.

A meat vendor said Thimphu thromde constructed a drain with metal slab covering near the left entrance but it did not serve the purpose. “Surface runoff water does not enter the drain as the metal slab is higher than the road.”

She said thromde officials suggested closing the entrance but unloading their goods would be difficult.

It is not just the vendors. Shopkeepers in the adjacent Karma Khangzang building said for the first time in 14 years surface runoff water entered their shop. 

“All the footwear in my shop was covered with sewage and debris,” a shopkeeper said. She suspects covering the open drain near Burger Point to convert it into a footpath worsened the situation.

A shopkeeper along the footpath said every time it rained, he had to close his shop as it was risky. “The force of stormwater has broken the footpath and it overflowed.”

He said before when the drain was not covered, they could remove the garbage and overflow of stormwater was not a problem. “With limited human resources in thromde, I don’t expect them to clean the drain.”

He said that the thromde could have left a part open to clean whenever the drain gets clogged.

Kuensel tried contacting Thromde officials but they were unavailable for comments.

Edited by Tshering Palden