As I drive around Thimphu city, my ageing Swift LXI, decrepit as it maybe, has to bear the brunt of a bumpy ride, spiraling across the several potholes that dot the roads across the city. Several craters and potholes have appeared across many sections and places.
Cars and trucks and vehicles of all sorts have to maneuver all the obstacles and the dangers our roads present and with it bring traffic bottlenecks and then road rage.
We are overlooking the importance of our roads and it is high time, we reset some of our priorities. A lot of time is being consumed driving around and getting to a destination. For businesses, time is money, it has always been.
We have seen how other countries have laid so much emphasis on roads and how they’ve developed in just few years. Transporting goods have become easier and a lot of time is saved as it is faster to deliver goods and commodities across the country.
Our roads however have been crying out for repairs for quite a long time. Besides potholes, there are rods jutting out from the manholes and driving over them would mean serious injury to your car.
It slows down transportation and hence vehicles land up consuming more fuel. Let’s say one vehicle consume an additional two liters of fuel a month because of our road conditions. There are more than 24,000 vehicles in the core Thimphu area according to some media reports.
So, an additional two liters of fuel a month would translate to an additional Nu 137 for each vehicle. All the vehicles combined, it would mean the economy would consume Nu 3.3M a month and in a year that translates to Nu 39M.
This money would be enough to repair the entire stretch of roads all across Thimphu.
This means an additional import of fuel worth Rs 39M and an equal pressure on the Indian rupee reserve. However, vehicles must be incurring additional fuel consumption more than two liters a month.
So why not we repair the roads and then save on the fuel imports?