It’s not monsoon or the swollen Dungsam river, but poor drainage that results in the town flooding every time it rains 

Thromde: Poor drainage system is what floods Samdrupjongkhar town every monsoon and not necessarily due to the swollen Dungsam river, residents say.

Residents blamed the absence of a drainage system to the recent flash flood that washed away a suspension bridge and a truck.

“We have to be careful with the flooding drains, especially those that are deep where a child could drown if not taken care,” a resident Ugyen Norbu said.

Another resident, Sonam Penjore said although thromde officials do maintain the damaged drainage, it doesn’t last long and gives way every time it rains. Areas around the vegetable market get filled with drain water whenever it showers.

Few residents are also questioning the Thrompon’s pledge to fix the drainage system since there has been no development and his term is coming to an end.

Thromde officials said work is underway to address the drainage issue and that the need of a master plan for a proper drainage system has been submitted.

Agreeing to the town’s poor drainage, Thrompon Karma Sherab Thobgyal said, the thromde office lacks proper master plan and all drains were constructed before the thromde office was established.

“Right now, wherever they need, we’ve been constructing drains and approved people’s request,” he said. “Since there was no plan, we had allowed it but we do need a master plan, soon.”

He added they would do the mapping and studies to have a proper plan and identify the vulnerable areas before proposing to the works and human settlement ministry.

The office has about Nu 98 million for the 11th Plan to maintain the existing drainages and construct new ones but lacks a master plan. The office has already spent about Nu 15 million to come up with a new storm water drain in the town.

“But we disagree that poor drainage is the main reason for flooding in town,” he said.

Meanwhile, the works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden who recently visited Samdrupjongkhar also said that the town has poor drainage system and most of the existing one is damaged.

“But it is an emerging issue in any growing town with the increase in population and buildings,” lyonpo said. “We’re supportive of thromde’s master plan proposal and the request, and we’ll look into it soon.”

Yangchen C Rinzin, Samdrupjongkhar