Cleanliness: Thimphu Thromde has slapped a fine of Nu 104,300 to building owners along the Norzin Lam and Chang Lam within three hours yesterday.

Led by Thrompon Kinaly Dorjee, inspectors imposed the fines for not keeping the surrounding clean. However, with most of the property owners being non-residents, receipts were handed to the shopkeepers who were involved in littering. The shopkeepers were asked to forward the fine receipts to the owners.

A maximum of Nu 20,000 was imposed as fine to a building owner along Norzin Lam for dumping waste in a prohibited area. The shopkeeper had built a provisional gate between her building and the other one and dumped all her cartoon boxes inside the enclosure.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the officials, the shopkeeper who didn’t want to be named, said that initially thromde officials had asked her not to throw the boxes into open areas. “They asked me to make a gate and cover the waste. My waste here is all covered and nothing is lying in open,” said the shopkeeper. “They can’t impose fine like this, they need to be clear with what they want us to do.”

She added that the boxes were stored so that students could use them. “We collect and give our boxes to students so that they can make some income from them,” she said. “It’s just been a few days since I’ve started collecting the boxes.”

Most of the fines were imposed for littering within their premises, which amounted to Nu 100 per instance. Similarly, people who failed to clean the area after organizing a programme and dumping waste into streams and drainage system were also fined.

While business establishments that failed to provide waste bins for customers escaped with just a warning this time, some of the shops were seen placing small boxes as dustbins as they saw the officials come their way. Shopkeepers with display of posters, stickers, bills and banners without proper approval from thromde were asked to stop the practice.

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that although numerous cleaning and awareness campaigns on waste management were conducted, the city still suffered from garbage issues. “Waste has always been and still is a big concern in our city. Lapses were there from our side as well, as we were not able monitor on time,” he said. “Our people lack civic sense and most of them do not take their responsibilities sincerely.”

Thrompon added that only with such initiatives city’s garbage problem can be addressed. “Nothing has been sustainable so far. The way forward is we should go on and fine people who do not follow the rules,” said thrompon.

Thromde’s head of waste management, Yeshi Wangdi, said that similar inspections will be conduced in other places as well. He said that in order to make public more serious about the waste problems, fines will be imposed without leniency on those who do not follow the rules.

Yeshi Wangdi added that failure to pay the fines will lead to administrative actions such as disconnecting the services like water and electricity lines against the property owner.

Along with imposing fines, officials also discussed possible facelift along the Norzin Lam area. Maintenance and widening of the footpath and drainage system were some of the areas that required improvements according to officials.

Thrompon said that all the drainage systems in the area needed to be covered and converted into footpaths. “No open drains will be allowed. If the drain lies in a private land, the owner will have to close it,” he said.

The plantations along the Norzin Lam that has become an eyesore for many will also receive major restoration. Yeshi Wangdi said that new trees will be planted and the fences renovated with uniformity.

The facelift project should begin by the end of March according to officials. Mobilization of the funds and materials has already begun. CCTV will be placed to monitor the area once the project is completed.

Younten Tshedup