Residents of Trashiyangtse town, who are unhappy with the revised collection fee on solid waste the municipality imposed recently, asked the dzongkhag tshogdue (DT) to remove their thuemi.

The collection fee was increased from Nu 20 to Nu 100 a unit since June following the DT decision.

However, the residents are not happy with the DT resolution.

According to the residents, the decision was taken without prior consultation. “We knew about the new charges only when the bill for two months was imposed on us,” said Tshewang Lhamo, a local businesswoman.

She said that no meetings were held by the thromde thuemi to discuss the revision on the waste collection fees. “We were all in shock when the new fee was levied.”

Tshewang Lhamo said they argued that they wouldn’t be able to agree on the new charges and requested the dzongkhag administration and DT to reconsider the decision.

It was learnt that some 84 people residing in the town wrote to the dzongkhag administration and DT chairperson thrice requesting to reconsider the revised charges.

A special DT session was held towards the end of August to sort out the issue. The DT decided to reduce the amount from Nu 100 to Nu 50 from each unit every month.

It was also learnt that the petition submitted to the dzongkhag administration requested the removal of the thromde thuemi. However, without any firm basis on the condition, there was no deliberation made on the request.

“The thromde thuemi was selected to cater to the needs of the town residents and function as a bridge between the public and the dzongkhag. She failed to do her duty which is why we requested to remove her from the post,” said Tshewang Lhamo.

A businessman, Karma, said that it was not about the money that was increased but about the importance given to the public while making decisions.

“We are the direct beneficiaries, which is why we have to be consulted. We are unhappy because a decision was made which involves us but we were not even aware of it,” she said.

Thromde thuemi, Ugyen Lhamo, said that although a separate meeting was not held to discuss the waste collection fees, the municipal officials raised the issue during a meeting on disaster.

“There were not many people from the town when the proposal was brought up,” said the thuemi. “Even during  the DT, I did raise the concern that Nu 100 would not be viable but my concern was not considered and they went ahead and decided on their own.”

Ugyen Lhamo said that as the representative of the town residents, people had expected more from her. “This issue has come as a lesson for me and I’ve promised the people I would do better in future.”

Meanwhile, municipal officials said that the idea to increase the collection fee was to improve service delivery in the town. With the amount collected, better maintenance and quality service delivery in the town were some of the activities planned by the office.

Officials said that the money was also revised to run the three vehicles –a compactor truck, a tractor and a bolero – efficiently. Today the municipality collects waste three times a week and collects about Nu 19,000 monthly.

Younten Tshedup  | Trashiyangtse