MTR: Despite the mounting issue of waste management, Thimphu thromde boasts of a well-managed solid waste disposal facility.

The amount of waste reduced, reused and recycled stands at 240 metric tonnes (MT) a month against the target of 36MT a month.

This is one of the 24 achievements of Thimphu thromde that was presented at the 11th Plan mid-term review (MTR) yesterday. Of the 44 indicators, 24 were achieved, 14 are on track and six at risk.

Presenting the report, thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the 240MT of solid waste also includes paper, metals and plastics. More than 90 percent of the households have access to a proper waste management system today against the target of 90 percent.

However, thrompon Kinlay Dorjee admitted that there were issues in the peripheries of the town where there is no proper road network such as the Semtokha dzong and the Pamtsho areas. “We could not send our garbage trucks there but we’ve extended our services there by placing dustbins in these locations,” he said.

The thromde’s key results were categorised under seven sections. They were improved health status, quality and urban life, enhanced opportunity for lifelong learning, improved waste management and greening of the city, strengthening Bhutanese identity and culture, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery and education.

The thromde managed greening the city beyond the target of more than 30 percent through the establishment of parks and plantations along the expressway, among others. As part of the greening programme, the thromde provided 3,000 saplings to schools in a year and 300 seedlings to individual households.

It was also reported that the thromde achieved 100 percent target to have traditional designs on buildings and infrastructure in the city.

While the number of community gathering places was targeted at eight, the thromde succeeded in establishing 13 such places in various parts of the city.

To enhance transparency, efficiency and effective public service delivery, 10 services such as building occupancy certificate, discontinuation and reconnection of water and replacement of water metre, among others were launched. A little more than a thousand people have availed the services till date.

Thimphu requires about 20 more city buses. Currently, there are 33 city busses with designated seats for senior citizens, women, children and those with special needs. The thrompon said that more buses would be added to the existing fleet.

Streetlights have been installed in about 16 places in the city. Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the existing streetlights have been replaced with light-emitting diode (LED) and induction lighting system.

“The new lighting system is brighter while energy consumption is reduced by about 70 percent,” he said, adding that the thromde pays a monthly electricity bill of Nu 700,000 for the 3,000 streetlights in the city.

The thromde also achieved its 100 percent target of mandating schools to have school disaster management plans.

With 14 indicators on track, some of the activities under progress are access to clean and reliable drinking water for 24 hours, construction of gender friendly public toilets and a proper drainage system that is expected be completed in two years.

The thrompon reported that about 80 percent of the population has access to 24 hours clean and reliable drinking water. The gender friendly public toilets are being constructed at the crematorium, milk booth, Yangchenphug HSS athletic ground, and one between IMTRAT and the Royal Bhutan Police camps. There is only one gender friendly public toilet at the Clock Tower Square currently.

With about 42kms of drainage system in the city, the thromde is yet to construct eight kilometres of drains to achieve its target. With regard to expansion and improvement of pubic transport and infrastructure, only about 12 percent of the population uses public transport while the target is aimed at 35 percent.

As per the indicators at risks, the thrompon requested the government’s support to help address the issues in collaboration with the agencies concerned. For instance, reduction of incidences of crime, drug related cases, morbidity and maternal and infant mortality incidences are among the six indicators  at risk.

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said there is a need to have a dzongkhag health officer or an office just like that of education if the health indicators are to remain with the thromde. “There is no designated health official at present,” he said.

Addressing the MTR, Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay presented an overview of the economy saying that it has improved today from the state it was prior to the starting of the 11th Plan.

“When the 11th Plan began, the external borrowings and the rupee crunch was a concern,” he said, emphasising on how rupee accessibility has now improved drastically.

The 11th Plan, according to Lyonchoen, also focuses on rural economy development under which various incentives are included such as tax exemption, free 100 units electricity and low interest loans, among others.

Along with rural economy development, Lyonchoen said it is also important that the thromdes develop accordingly.

“Especially Thimphu Thromde, not just as the capital, but because we’ve about 150,000 people residing here,” Lyonchoen said. “It is important that we appreciate what the thromde has achieved while at the same time look for solutions to the challenges that it faces.”

Lyonchoen lauded the thromde’s report of having renovated about 33 of the 40 choetens in Thimphu.

Lyonchoen also highlighted the condition of the crematorium ground in Hejo and the need to expand and improve the crematorium area in Thimphu. “With the increasing population in Thimphu, it is becoming an issue,” Lyonchoen said. “The thrompon and the thromde tshogde needs to find a solution before its too late.”

Lyonchoen suggested that the thromde along with the dzongkhag either identify a new place or expand the existing crematorium at Hejo. “The government is willing to support,” he said.

The total budget outlay for the 11th Plan is about Nu 2B which includes assistance from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and SDP. Of that the cumulative budget stands at about 1.2B and cumulative expenditure at about Nu 1.1B.

Construction of the thromde office for which Nu 286M has been allocated was dropped from the 11th Plan. As the construction is deferred, Nu 20M is to be re-appropriated to construct three vegetable sheds at Jungshina, Babesa and Motithang while the remaining amount is to be re-allocated based on next financial year’s annual performance targets.

Kinga Dema and Dechen Tshomo