Shift of focus from big cities to small towns

Yearender/Settlement: Headed by the first women minister, the works and human settlement ministry made an important commitment in 2014 to amend the Local Government (LG) Act.

The outcome was to have 20 thrompons, 140 thromde thuemis (representatives) and 20 yenlag throm thuemis in the 2016 LG elections.

Having local governments in place, especially the thromde tshogde, is expected to ensure balanced regional development, which should improve the lives and opportunities of people outside Thimphu and Phuentsholing.  It is also expected to bring balanced planning in towns outside the capital, although each dzongkhag has a municipality today, the pace of development is not comparable to a thromde’s.

The largest throm in a dzongkhag will become the dzongkhag thromde.  The second largest will become a yenlag (satellite) thromde.

In another significant move, waste collection in Thimphu was outsourced to a private company, Greener Way.

While tackling solid waste management is an issue in the capital, it has also become a pressing issue in the dzongkhags and yenlag towns.  Garbage can even be found along the trekking route in Lunana.

In a move to ensure that building constructions are environment friendly, the ministry introduced the ‘Green Building Design Guidelines’.  To also ensure that traditional Bhutanese architecture is not lost, guidelines are currently being drafted.

Much to the relief of farmers, burdened with maintenance of farm roads every winter, the roads department started taking maintenance responsibilities from the gewog administrations.  The ministry has, as pledged by the government, started blacktopping farms roads until the gewog centres.

The widening of the 546km East-West highway has been finalised with the government of India funding the work.

There are still ongoing works that were supposed to have been completed.  Construction of the Damchu-Chukha bypass is into its fourth year.  The Nganglam-Gyalpoizhing road construction also continues.

Nirmala Pokhrel

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