Unlike in the past, there is no issue of clogged drains this summer in Phuentsholing town.

Until this year, Phuentsholing town area near the main gate used to be flooded with water every time it rained heavily.

This, according to the thromde officials, is because they recently cleaned the drains after more than 20 years.

Phuentsholing thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said it was the first cleaning of the drains after it was constructed.

He, however, said there are many areas in town where the drains will have to be renovated. “Once the urban design, which currently is under process, completes, these drains will also be renovated,” he said. “Until the design is complete, people will have to bear with the existing drainage system.”

A businessman in town, Bijoy Chhetri, said that the thromde took a good initiative by cleaning the drains.

A taxi driver, Yeshey Wangdi, also said that the drainage system was much better compared to previous years. “I did not see roads flooded with drain water this year.”

Thromde officials say proper drainage system in the extended town areas of Kabreytar and Dhamdara will be constructed this winter.

Meanwhile, the business settlements along the Amochhu embankments have also been safe despite heavy rainfall so far. The ongoing dredging work has helped in diverting the river from the settlement areas.

Three construction firms have continuously dredged the Amochhu embankments. A total of 2.4km stretch has been piled with stones and boulders.

Thromde officials and stakeholders, after a meeting, decided to keep these contractors on work. There is no investment made by the thromde.

Contractors invest on their own but they get to sell the leftover stones and boulders.

Thromde officials said that the dredging work was an ad hoc disaster management.

“It is a win-win situation for thromde and the contractors,” Uttar Kumar Rai said. “Everything is properly monitored.”

However, the thromde invested in constructing the 450 metres gabion walls to support the dredging works.

A businessman at the Amochhu embankment, Tenzin Dorji, said the dredging works have helped.

Phuentsholing was one of the most monsoon-hit places in 2015 and 2016.

Last year, the swollen Amochhu washed away land and the government had to spend more than Nu 2 million (M) in compensation.

Excluding the Amochhu flood, incessant rain caused thromde a loss of about Nu 35M in 2016 to repair damaged roads, walls, drains, and several other infrastructure.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing