Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Phuentsholing thromde had introduced door-to-door waste collection since July 1.

This has not been received well by the residents.

The thromde did away with the previous system of keeping waste bins near residential areas that allows residents to dispose waste anytime.

With the new waste collection system, residents dispose of waste routinely as per the thromde’s timing. They also introduced different days and timing for dry and wet wastes.

As waste collection vehicles come at different times, people are now disposing of waste on the streets.

A town resident, Phub Tshering, said segregating waste is always the best way to manage waste but the execution has to be well-planned.

“Most of the time, they fail to collect waste.”

He said a detailed survey of waste generation should have been properly done before implementation.

“But it seems that they just sat in a closed air-con room and drew the timetable to collect the waste.”

Office goers also have problems with the timing.

A resident of the Rinchending area, Tsegay Norbu, said he took leave from office just to dispose of wastes. “I had to take leave because my wife keeps busy with two children.”

He said keeping waste on the roadsides is a bigger problem because dogs litter them around.

Tsegay Norbu said the vehicles don’t even have an alarm system to alert people.

“The waste collectors who drive the waste vehicles are avoiding the waste, reasoning it is time for either dry or wet.”

He said the town looks worse than ever before with waste everywhere.

Meanwhile, a thromde official, Lhendup, said there would be inconveniences for the public at this moment when a new approach towards waste management is introduced.

“Advocacy and sensitisation were done at length on this new initiative,” he said.

He said thromde’s plan was to do away with old dumper bins placed at strategic locations, which at times were seen overflowing and an eyesore to the commuters.

“Thromde’s intent is to provide door-to-door service since almost all residents have access to urban roads.”

Lhendup said thromde would work until the end of this month to enhance the system and let people get used to it, especially the wet and dry segregation, followed by its timing.

“We have also planned to increase the frequency of collection,” he said.

“The main challenges we encounter are the bulky commercial wastes generated from the core area. One could see newly unsealed packaging boxes in front of their shops.”

Power disruption at Kabreytar

Repeated power disruptions at Kabreytar have also irked the residents.

A resident said that Kabreytar is facing frequent outages irrespective of weather conditions.

“It is during the middle of summer when it is 35 to 37 degree Celsius.”

He said the problem is persistence and inherent particularly in Kabreytar.

Another resident said that he used to hear power outages or load shedding issues in the past from India.

“It is happening now in Bhutan,” he said.

The resident said that the moment there is a thunderstorm, even a mild one, power goes off. “On the other side of the Kabretary, across the Omchhu river, the power remains stable.”

He said power and water supply are interdependent in his area. “No electricity means no water.”

Kabreytar residents also said that while power in their buildings is out, streetlights do not go off.

A senior divisional manager with Bhutan Power Corporation (BPC), Chhejay Wangdi, attributed most power outages to natural disasters such as landslides and lightning triggered by heavy monsoon.

“Phuentsholing is prone to very heavy lightning,” he said, adding that most of the time construction activities and vehicles damage the lines.

“But our line staff are working throughout the night.”

He said BPC is also converting an overhead 11kv line at Kabreytar and providing additional 11kv lines to improve the power reliability.

Chhejay Wangdi said BPC’s work plan has to align with thromde’s work plan as thromde has to provide utility ducts so that BPC can provide underground cables and other associated infrastructures.

“BPC and Phuentsholing Thromde are working closely for entire town developmental activities.”