Yeshey Lhadon 

Suppose there is another lockdown. Thimphu Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that the thromde staff were better prepared to provide essential services.

“In case of another lockdown, the thromde will be stringent and professional with provision of services,” he said.

Call Centre 1009

The thromde has decided to not use the many toll-free and cell phone numbers, which created confusion during the lockdown.

The complaints concerning water supply, sewage leakage, waste management and drain blockage, among others were routed through a toll-free number 2550.

Kinlay Dorjee said: “Going by the lockdown experience, we will only use the toll-free number 1009 for all thromde-related services.”

The call centre, which used to be handled by 80 people, will now be handled by 40 De-Suup.

Thromde will use google documentation software to provide the online services.

Wholesalers and retailers in the zones and subzones

Thromde has worked out the supply chain of essential grocery item and has added one more stock centre, taking the number of centres to 9.

The Four wholesalers

FCBL, Zimdra, Sherza Ventures and 8 eleven didn’t have adequate manpower when the first lockdown happened.

“It hampered our service delivery turnover as there were thousands of orders everyday,” said Kinlay Dorjee.

Nine retailers have been chosen after lucky draw based on their capacity and manpower and four wholesalers to render supply and delivery services.

The Thrompon said that some wholesalers were given soft loan by the government to supply the required items.

It is mandatory for the retailers to stock up 21 essential items enough for 21 days.

“We asked the retailers to submit a list of the items they need to stock up. If we don’t get the list, we will consider that they have enough stock for the next lockdown,” Kinlay Dorjee said.

Each retailer should manage at least five vehicles and bear transportation cost.

The retailers also must set up at least three counters to speed up service delivery.

Thromde faced a huge challenge during the second phase of the lockdown in the 45 zones. Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) had allowed about 600 shops to open and people were allowed to go shopping with movement cards.

The thromde took over the opening of shops from MoEA. Kinlay Dorjee said: “If we allow 600 shops to open, the very purpose of lockdown will be meaningless.”

Thimphu Thromde will open about 200 shops in the second phase depending on the size and population of each zone. There will be restrictions.

Vegetables supply

Thimphu Thromde in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MoAF)will start delivering vegetables in the next lockdown.

MoAF will now bring in vegetables and livestock products in the 9 stock centres. Kinlay Dorjee said: “We can deliver vegetables along with essential rations.”

He said that the ground reality could change.  “No matter how much awareness you create, people will still face problems. Thromde will keep the centres ready.”

Construction of vegetable shops

Thromde is also constructing about 24 vegetable shops in the zones. “We are rushing to complete the vegetable shop construction. It might take about two months,” said Kinlay Dorjee.

During the first lockdown, the government supplied vegetables to the grocery shops in the zones with no vegetable shops but the shops were not willing to sell vegetables, he said.

City address system

Lack of a proper city address system is one of the main challenges for the service providers. Thromde in collaboration with the National Land Commission and Ministry of Works and Human Settlement are working together to put the city address system in place.

“City addresses are critical during such unprecedented times. It will take four to five months to complete the city address system. If the lockdown happens next week or next month, we still don’t have the city address system,” said Kinlay Dorjee.