A pedestrian Thimphu Centre. Is this time for real?

I fully support the move and can’t wait for it to happen. Thimphu (read also as humans) need to reclaim its historic street back from cars and pollutions and create a shared space with a urban vibrant community. Norzin Lam can serve as a model for other towns – a carless street.

One suggestion though is to strategize this plan and be gradual with the implementation so that the impact on business and livelihood is minimal. For example, we could start with both weekends only – and then increase the number of days of closure. On Sundays artistes and musicians can be invited together with ara-bangchang-suja stalls to have some cultural activities. Thimphu badly needs a cultural life beyond the occasional tshechus and moelam chhenmos. Otherwise gambling and gadgets will send the society down the drain soon. The other idea would be to close from 10 am to 10pm to let the shops refill and large consignments be delivered or bought. There are many best practices from around the world to choose from. But do it! Don’t let it be hijacked by another uproar.

I believe the new multi-storied parking building has commercial spaces? This is one thing that should immediately stop. Government agencies becoming landlords and retailers using public funds is not acceptable. Leave that to the private sector. Selling Johnny Walker whiskeys and renting commercial spaces are not your job. Can BCCI raise this and put an end to this? As it is, the market is small and government agencies are in direct competition with private sector, NGOs and just anybody. If private sector doesn’t grow employment will be a pipe dream. I understand with large manufacturing or the hydropower sector. But retailing and rental business? Come on!

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