Of sports infrastructures, eve-teasing and useless mobile apps, noise pollution and traffic congestion

Make sports infrastructure accessible to all

We woke up to a bad news last Sunday. A group of boys were involved in a fight and one of them was stabbed. We learnt that one of the youth involved was my relative and it was breaking his parent’s hearts.

As a relative and a father of a son myself, I was curious to know what made them do this. To this, he answered, “we were drunk.” I suggested that there are many avenues where he could engage himself like sports instead of going to bars. He said he likes football but football fields are only for the rich. He and his friends are university graduates without jobs, so they cannot afford to pay for the football field. He makes sense. Nu. 4,000 or 5,000 a match is way beyond their means. Our football pitches are mostly empty during the daytime. Why can’t we allow those kids to let their adrenaline flow on the pitch rather than on each other? By evening they will be tired and may not want to hang out in bars. We call ourselves a GNH country but our kids are not happy. Let us listen to them.

(Published on May 14, 2018)

Eve-teasing by construction workers

I am a student studying in one of the higher secondary schools in Thimphu and I walk through the town everyday to and from school.

I write this to find out whose responsibility it is to stop the construction workers at the construction site opposite the Bhutan Oil Distribution (BOD) depot from teasing female pedestrians. I learnt that the upcoming construction of a car park is executed by Thimphu Thromde.

The construction workers tease and jeer at females who are walking alone and there is no one there to stop these acts. I am sure many female students who use this route would agree that we don’t feel safe to walk alone.

The shortest route to reach my home is via the small road behind that construction site which leads to the thromde office and 8 Eleven shop but I have been scared of using that route because of the construction workers.

I would, therefore, be grateful if media could do a story and find out whose responsibility it is to stop such eve teasing and make Thimphu safe for girls so that they are not scared to walk alone.

Changzamtok, Thimphu
(Published on May 15, 2018)

This is in response to Kuensel article “OAG drops most child molestation cases” dated May 12. I am one of the affected parents, where the OAG dropped a molestation case.

My family was very much aggrieved when we went through the article. We were disappointed by the comments given by the OAG’s chief prosecutor Kinley Tenzin in the article.

I write this to let the readers know that OAG dismissed the cases based on assumption but it was a difficult phase for us as our child had to go through lots of psychological trauma. My child is still in the process of recovering. Our family also had to go through social stigma.

We have heard from a very relevant source that the chief prosecutor proudly claimed that he dismissed eight molestation cases. This will encourage people who commit crime against minors.

My concern is that OAG is helping perpetrators and encouraging them to commit more crimes. Child molestation and child sexual abuse cases are on the rise because you have encouraged the criminals to go scot-free.

We were informed that the cases are dismissed by the OAG on grounds of insufficient evidence but we would like to inform that we have given all the evidence that we have to the investigating agencies and accordingly they did their best. But OAG simply dismissed it.

I am told that OAG never asked the investigating agencies for additional evidence to bring the culprit before the court.

Kuensel’s article also quoted some court officials saying that the courts conduct an independent investigation when the victim is a child. The OAG should also take the child molestation cases seriously and work with investigating agencies to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to task. The victim is my daughter today. It can be yours tomorrow. Let us work together to keep our children safe.

An affected family
(Published on May 16, 2018)

Measures needed to ease traffic congestion

Unlike in the past, Thimphu now faces traffic congestion even after the peak hours.

Traffic congestion is growing day after day and it is no surprise to read in Kuensel that the number of vehicles in the country has increased to 94,956 in April this year from 88,227 in June 2016.

However, it is surprising that about 22 new vehicles were imported every day in the last 10 months and almost half of these vehicles are in Thimphu.

The location of many offices, schools and the national referral hospital in the city attracts a heavy flow of people during rush hours, worsening the congestion.

What can the concerned agencies or the government and the residents do about this growing problem? One alternative is increasing the frequency and quality of public transport services, and then encouraging people to use public transport.

I am sure if there are adequate number of buses and if the services are reliable then most office- goers and students would prefer to use the service as nobody likes sitting in traffic and worrying getting to work or school.

Also, concerned authorities like the Thromde and the education ministry should work together and consider carefully before approving the location of new ECCDs and private schools in the city to avoid adding to the already growing traffic congestion.

There are many alternatives but if nothing is done urgently, the congestion problem will only worsen.

(Published on May 17, 2018)

Make Apps that will be used

It is good that with digitization and Internet, Bhutan has seen numerous Apps being developed in just a few years.

Before launching Apps one after another, the effectiveness and the efficiency of Apps should be looked into. In fact, every App should be kept updated to suit the users’ convenience.

We need to be assured if these Apps are really effective and serve the purpose it was first developed for. We now have three Apps to provide taxi rides. Have these Apps made it any easier for people? We don’t know.

Take for instance the banking Apps. Although they’re not perfect, in my view, they work and save us time and money, mainly for those who are busy and need to transfer money urgently.

The Apps are vulnerable to the Internet speed but they do tend to work when internet service providers keep the service going. I believe it is also a good practice for people to get used to the App, but if the trend is to just develop Apps without them being used, then it is no use.

(Published on May 18, 2018)

Brawls and loud noise at Olakha

Where should we go and whom should we approach? The noise from nightclubs and Drayangs are affecting the residents of Olakha. School going children do not get enough sleep and old people are kept awake the whole night! It has become difficult for the residents residing near Ariya and Norbu Healing centers to have a decent living.

I am sure the concerned authority is aware of the social disharmony by the issuance of license to nightclubs and drayangs around residential areas. Officials from BICMA and Thromdeshould spend some nights in Olakha to see the chaos these establishments are causing to the residents. Prior to the issuance of license to discotheque and drayangs, authorities should specify that these establishments are located away from residential areas.

This is a plea from the children, students and old people residing in Olakha to BICMA and Thromde to look into these issues. The recent stabbing case that occurred at Olakha is not new. The discotheque license was suspended once but the suspension has been lifted and the residents are now miserable.

Tshering Tobgay
(Published on May 19, 2018)

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