Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering has asked Thimphu Thromde to rework on its annual performance agreement (APA) activities during the thromde’s APA for the current fiscal year review meeting on July 31.

Since the Prime Minister started visiting ministries and agencies to review the targets and deliverables in the APA, most of them have been asked to rework on their targets and activities.

It was found that the success indicators and weightage given to particular activities in the APA were not priority-based. Activities that are easily achievable were included and those urgent and pertinent issues were not reflected or given less weightage, said Lyonchhen during the meeting.

Thromde officials presented that in order to improve livability, safety and sustainability of human settlement it would reduce the potholes along the roads by 70 percent from the existing 60 percent in the current fiscal year.

It was also highlighted that households with access to 24×7 safe drinking water supply would be increased from 30 percent to 55 percent in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The activity was given a weightage of 1 percent.

The thromde had identified a total of 13 objectives to be achieved in the current fiscal year of which five were listed as mandatory objectives.

Lyonchhen said that in the past three financial years, Thimphu thromde has achieved 95 to 96 percent of their APA targets. “If we are to consider these scores then Thimphu thromde should not be having any issues today,” he said.

Multiple issues and challenges persist, more than ever for Thimphu Thromde today, he said. “Of the several other issues, for Thim-throm 24×7 safe drinking water, pothole-ridden roads, sewerage issues, waste and safety of the residents are the most pertinent issues that should be prioritised.”

Lyonchhen said that while the thrompon and the executive secretary of the thromde could streamline and rework on the activities and sign the APA between the two, a separate agreement between the Prime Minister and the thrompon has to be also endorsed.

He said that the agreement would include only the five key issues that Thimphu Thromde should prioritise to address immediately.   Providing every household with 24×7 safe drinking water, achieving 100 waste segregation at source, activities to make Thimphu a safe city, connecting every household to the sewerage treatment plant at Babesa and making the roads pothole-free would be the five key activities.

Lyonchhen added that these activities should also be given more weightage so that everyone involved would work extra to achieve the targets. “Although difficult, if the thromde agrees to take up the challenge, the government will do its part to support the activities,” he said. “This would be a major achievement for the thromde.”

Thrompon Kinaly Dorjee said that one of thromde’s main objectives was to provide the residents with continuous supply of safe drinking water. “We are daily supplying water for about two to three hours. For some this is enough to run the whole day,” he said. “We will need to define what 24×7 water supply means.”

Lyonchhen said that as long as the tanks in individual buildings are filled to sustain the day, releasing water on an hourly basis should suffice.

On the waste, the thrompon said that waste segregation was successfully implemented in 2016-17 after it was privatised. “Before privatisation of the waste, everything used to be sent to Memelakha.

A biodegradable plant was also constructed in Serbithang for the bio-wastes. However, the thrompon said that the plant was closed given the large quantity of bio-waste that was produced and the slow rate of composting at the plant.

Kinaly Dorjee added that given the limited number of the compactors and waste-collecting vehicles, the waste segregation practice dissolved.   “However, people have now understood the importance of segregation at source. If the government could support us in getting additional vehicles to collect waste, the problem could be solved.”

The thrompon also informed that the office is working closely with the police and other relevant stakeholders to address the criminal activities in the thromde.

The thromde recently met with karaoke owners in Thimphu to form an association. “We learnt that multiple illegal bars are operating within the thromde area which is why through these associations, we want to track them down. We have an association of the drayang operators too.”

He said that time extension for the discotheques have significantly decreased the accident and fight incidents within the thromde.

On the sewerage network, Kinaly Dorjee said that with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the capacity of the sewerage treatment plant at Babesa was increased from two million-litre-per-day (MLD) to 12MLD.

“We have also completed the construction of localised treatment plants at Dechenchholing, Lanjophakha and Taba areas,” he said. “A 2MLD plant for Hejo, Samtenling, Pamtsho and Jungshina has also been planned.”

The thrompon said that once all these treatment plants are completed, all the wastewater could be connected to the plant at Babesa.

“I’m told that an ADB-funded project was recently tendered out and once the project starts, all the roads at Olakha and Lungtenphu areas would be repaired,” he said. “Once completed, the roads should be free of potholes for at least five years.”

Younten Tshedup