Lately, a foul smell from an overflowing sewerage tank has begun to greet visitors as they enter Trashigang town.

A sewage leakage near the Bank of Bhutan regional office junction has spilled over the road affecting residents and business community in the area.

Without a proper drainage system, the wastewater has been stagnated in the area for about two months now. Occasionally, pedestrians have been splashed with the wastewater as cars zoom by.

A resident, Karma Sherub, said that the municipal office has failed to address the problem despite several requests and complaints. “I’ve personally requested the municipal engineer and other staff including our thromde thuemi several times but they don’t seem to pay any attention to our problems.”

The 50-year-old businessman lives next to the overflowing sewerage tank. “It is I who receive all the complaints starting from the shopkeepers operating below the road and from the hoteliers at my house,” he said. “The wastewater is not just from my house but from the entire stretch along the road. It is not my duty to fix the blockage since it falls under the municipal area.”

The area was temporarily fixed when the education minister visited the dzongkhag recently. However, the leakage restarted within a few days. “This is how the municipality works,” another resident said. “The road needs resurfacing and not just patching up. The sewerage tank also needs a permanent solution.”

Karma Sherub said that as the representative of the thromde community, the thromde thuemi has also not been able to address the problem. “As though he cannot see the unpleasant leakage, he wants us to write to him officially and only then can there be some response,” he said.

Thromde thuemi, Thinley Namgay, said that despite reporting several times to the municipal engineer, the engineer has insisted on producing an official complaint letter from the public. “There is not much I can do on my own. I’ve reported to the authority concerned.”

The municipal engineer said that the sewerage line in the area is currently under maintenance and the problem would be solved soon. “We couldn’t find the exact location of the block which is why we have not been able to solve it immediately.”

He said that the block was a result of people flushing all sort of materials in the toilet. “Since the individual looking after the sewerage issues is currently engaged in some other works, we have not been able to start working on it. Our office will fix the problem soon.”

Another resident who didn’t want to be named said that procrastination is rampant in the municipal office. “They have never acted immediately to any of our complaints so far,” she said. “They don’t even attend calls during office hours thinking that it might be another complaints from the public.”

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang