After the flower exhibition ended, more than 100 flowers of four varieties were stolen from the gardens near the main exhibition centre and thromde office in Samdrupjongkhar.

The thromde had planted about 15 to 20 kinds of flowers in gardens across the town.

Following the theft and to monitor the gardens, Samdrupjongkhar thromde issued a notification on March 4 informing the public that together with the Royal Bhutan Police, the municipality has installed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at all strategic locations.

“We have installed about 19 CCTVs in vulnerable areas and the objective to issue notification was to refrain the public from stealing the flowers,” thrompon Karma Sherab Thobgyel said.

The CCTV cameras were installed about two months ago. The thromde already had 10 cameras installed and nine more were installed recently.

The gardens in the town areas are permanent, which the thromde has to manage. According to the notification, CCTVs are to deter or provide immediate detection of criminal offenses committed and to improve safety and security of the residents in the town. “We have noticed most of the flowers and plants planted to beautify the town were stolen after the flower exhibition,” the notification stated.

Karma Sherab Thobgyel said they would install additional CCTVs in the town areas and in Dewathang as the existing CCTVs could not cover all areas. A budget of Nu 30M has been allocated for this. “Samdrupjongkhar will become 100 percent safe city after installing CCTVs in all areas.”

He said the thromde and stakeholders would plant flowers and plants that bloom for a longer time and will also fence the gardens.

He said the allegation that the town is back to its normal situation is not true as the objective of maintaining the permanent gardens was to maintain the cleanliness and beauty of the town.

Thrompon said that this time, they would let the defaulters compensate for the theft and request police to take action if it occurs again.

Officials said it is good that people are showing interest in floriculture but stealing the flowers is criminal offense. The agriculture ministry had also distributed the flowers without charges to the public after the exhibition. “We depend on CCTVs to monitor the flowers as we lack manpower.”

A resident, Dorji Wangchuk, 33, said the thromde and concerned stakeholders should to do something as the issue is going viral on the social media.

“If the matter is serious, it’s high time and important for the thromde and stakeholders to take necessary measures to maintain the gardens and beautification of the town,” another resident said. 

Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar