Public not abiding by smear and spit rule

Thromde collected Nu 20,000 in fines in three months

Thromde:  Since the new rule to penalize doma chewers who smear tsuney (lime) on poles or spitting juice in open public space came into effect last November, around 200 people were penalized.

In three months, Thimphu Thromde has collected a fine of Nu 20,000 from violators.

According to thromde officials, most of the defaulters were caught in the core areas of the city. The thromde deploys 12 sanitary inspectors to monitor the city throughout the week.

Thromde’s head of solid waste management division, Yeshi Wangdi, said that although a slight decrease of defaulters were seen in some parts of the city, most of the people were oblivious to the new rule.

“While most of the people turn a blind eye when inspectors explain them the rule, some almost picked up fights with the inspectors,” said Yeshi Wangdi. “It becomes worst when the person is drunk but we have the Royal Bhutan Police’s support if things get out of hand.”

However, some of the people said that they did not know the existence of such regulations. “Public should also be informed on the introduction of such new rules,” said Kinga, a shopkeeper along the Norzin Lam. “Authorities cannot come up with new rules and regulations as and when they please.”

Others feel that the fine imposed on the defaulters are very minimal and should be increased if the rule has to be effective. “We are not rich but Nu 100 as a fine, just wont work,” said Tshering Dorji, a college student. “If the authorities concerned wants to make the rule effective, they have to increase the penalty so that people will think twice before smearing lime.”

Yeshi Wangdi said that the new rule was not meant to penalize the public but to develop a system where people would understand the importance of keeping the city clean. “A minimal fine was set not to collect money but to put a sense of awareness on the harmful effects of such habits,” he said. “Imposing a higher amount would be practically difficult.”

He said the penalty amount was fixed at Nu 100 after consulting with all the stakeholders concerned. “Our objective here is to make people aware of the rules with a little bit of pinch that comes with the penalty of Nu 100,” said Yeshi Wangdi adding that the public were made aware of the new rule via different medium of print, broadcast including social media.

Yeshi Wangdi, however, said that if people are not serious with the new rule that has been approved by the National Environment Commission, much firmer rule will be put in place.

 Younten Tshedup

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