Thursday, August 9, 2012

Monsoon- Money Rains

The media, of late, has been reporting on the chaos caused by the road blocks in several parts of our country. These blocks have caused problems to our travelers and statistics show how dearly it has cost the government funds and exchequer. Road blocks are reported every monsoon and I am sure there will be a time when our government will have to beg for funds to mend and repair the monsoon damages. One of the papers recently reported on the damages caused by the monsoon and the figure came out to be in millions. Do we have enough money to repair the monsoon damages on a yearly basis? Let’s ponder!
The road blocks have one thing in common. There are many places where blocks occur yearly. What if the government intervenes and does something permanent to those loose land sites to avoid future slides or blocks? This is a onetime solution and we can save millions of Ngultrums which would otherwise be used up on a yearly basis. Although, Bhutan lies in the Himalayas, blocks are obvious but saving money on greater damages can lead to a school being set up in a rural village or a farm road towards happiness. Let us be rational and practical, we cannot afford to spend millions yearly.
One fine example of an intervention still stands as a testimony today. When I was a high school kid we feared the word ‘Sorchen’ in Thimphu-P/ling highway. Now, this place does not cause any trouble to travelers. As an adult now, I am beginning to fear the words like Reotala, Box cutting, Pangzur (Trongsa-Zhemgang), frequent blocks on Tsirang-Gelephu, Trongsa-Thimphu, Monggar-Trashigang Bumthang-Monggar and the list is endless. No wonder, damages sum up to millions of Ngultrums. Businesses are suspended, schools are closed, and deaths occur, food shortages are rampant, water supplies are cut and many more happen due to the monsoon season. We need to look for a serious, tangible solution to the Monsoon damages.
India is such a vast diverse country and everyone knows how messy it becomes during the monsoon especially in states like Assam, West Bengal and the entire north east. So many people lose their homes, livestock and even family members to the monsoon. We can avoid this if something is done soon. Europe can be a fine example of better road network. It has spent so much money on road networks once and now they enjoy the benefit of it. We too can follow this, spend once, make it last and then have less trouble in future. I know there are technicalities involved and good planning needs to be done but let us do that once and not on a yearly basis.
Food for thought: In a Vajrayana country, blessed by spiritual figures, one needs to be concerned about people working in the rain just to let you through from a road block.

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