YK Poudel

Thimphu Thromde has scheduled the renovation of the urban park at Olakha in Thimphu for the upcoming financial year as part of the Thimphu Structural Plan.

After finalising the estimated budget and plans, the thromde will submit the proposal to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

The park has been closed for maintenance for over a year.

According to a thromde official, the park restoration work is expected to be completed by 2024. “For now, the focus is on maintaining the city starting from Thimphu gate.”

“There are plans of filling the park with varieties of seasonal flowers with new plants and shrubs. Thromde also plans to host a flower exhibition once the park renovation is completed,” the official said.

Additional facilities, including a rock garden, open-air gym, gazebos and benches, will be added. The plan also includes the construction of a 1.5-metre paved footpath connecting important areas around the park.

The existing basketball court will be turned into an open-air venue for entertainment, sports, and performances.

Changzamtog-Olakha tshogpa, Sonam Tshering, said that the park renovation was delayed as certain plans of improving the area are still being developed.

Although the residents of Olakha welcomed the decision, they also expressed some grievances.

Sanju Rai, a resident, said that the mani dungkhor used to be a place where the elderly used to spend their time, the basketball ground was mostly used by youth for basketball and dance practices. “It would be convenient if the space is left open till the large-scale maintenance begins.”

“My son and his friends previously used to go there during their free time and weekends for cycling. With the park closed, they are now often seen going toward the highway which is risky,” she said.

The owner of Trendy Collections, a store in Olakha, said that the park once used to be a gathering place for people from all walks of life. “The park has remained closed without much development for far too long.”

The owner of Dzongchu Checkmart said that it has been a year since her business was set up at Olakha. The park, she said, would bring many people to enjoy the facilities there.