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In a tragic incident, a teenager lost his life after falling into a pit filled with water in Phuentsholing.

It is not known for how long the teenager was in the pit or why he couldn’t get out. He died on the way to hospital.

Police have ruled out foul play or drugs so all we know is that the pit is uncovered, and now that it has claimed a life, we also know it is a danger.

We may say that it was an accident. But if the pit had been covered, he may not have died and therefore there must be accountability.

Following the incident, the pit remained uncovered, and not even a sign to caution pedestrians was erected. The incident passed and the threat remained.

It is hoped that the thromde does something quickly and not let bureaucratic procedures impede corrective measures. This is the least we can do to acknowledge the incident and learn from it.

However, there are other such open pits in all our towns, near construction sites, or even on and alongside footpaths. We are forced to skip over missing or broken slabs covering drains in Thimphu. Some footpaths are broken at places while some end abruptly and with unreasonable drops.

Sometimes, we see and hear of manholes missing, and budget constraints preventing their replacement for long periods of time.

Clearly public safety does not seem to be high on the priority list or is a challenge for resource constrained or overburdened agencies.

Whatever the constraints, it is unfair to expect the public to navigate these hazards on a daily basis, especially, the young, the elderly and the physically challenged.

Open holes in the grounds should be covered.

If the slabs covering our drains are breaking and cannot be replaced in time when they break or crack, given resource constraints, then more resilient slabs have to be found, or some kept as back up in the store.

If manholes continue to be stolen, innovation must be used to prevent them from being stolen.

When it comes to public safety, the usual constraints cannot become an obstacle and prevent us from another avoidable serious injury or death.

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