Shopkeepers appeal against Norzin Lam closure

Pedestrianisation: On behalf of businesspersons located  on Norzin Lam, Thimphu Thromde’s Norzin Thuemi Kuenga Yonten appealed to the Thromde Tshogde not to close Norzin Lam.

Thimphu Thromde is yet to decide on the closing of the Norzin Lam.

Minister for works and human settlement, Lyonpo Dorji Choden, has written to Thimphu Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee asking to keep the decision to close Norzin Lam to vehicular traffic in abeyance as instructed by Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay.

About 207 shopkeepers and house owners affected by the decision appealed to Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay last month.

The business community also raised the issue of commercial space proposed in the multi-level car parking that is currently under construction.

The business community’s grievance is that the decision and the developments that are taking place in the city will adversely affect their businesses.

However, Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee stands firm that pedestrinisation of Norzin Lam will not affect the businesses located along the street.

The intention to close Norzin Lam once every month is to make the street, being the city’s centre, a hub for everyone to come and enjoy shopping, the thrompon said.

Meanwhile, the ministry is instructed to review the pedestrianisation of the Norzin Lam as provided in the structural plan.

Thromde Tshogde’s resolution on the closure of the Norzin Lam is that the thromde will present the thromde’s plan of the closure of the street to the works and human settlement ministry.

“Changing the city’s structural plan will not be appropriate,” said the thrompon. “In the meantime, the thromde will keep working on developing the city.”

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee pointed out that closing Norzin Lam to vehicular traffic doesn’t mean that the street will be completely closed for vehicles.

“Buses, ambulances and waste collecting trucks will be allowed to ply along the street,” the thrompon said. “There will be a provision for emergency.”

The tshogde thuemis agree that the increasing number of vehicles is adding to traffic congestion and it takes longer for commuters to drive along Norzin Lam. However, the thuemis suggested the thromde to first relocate the shops that deal with heavy commodities like hardware shops before deciding on closing the street.

Closing Norzin Lam for vehicular traffic on the first Sunday of every month starting June this year was one of the resolutions of the second Thimphu Thromde Tshogde meeting held in April.

The thromde officials also updated the thuemis on the thromde’s budget for the city’s developmental works for this year.

The total budget outlay for the year 2016-17 is about Nu 655 million, which includes assistance from the Asian Development Bank.

Dechen Tshomo

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