Damphu town’s parking system was a topic of discussion yet again at the recent Dzongkhag Tshogdu in Tsirang. The DT endorsed the “30-minute parking system” for the town last year, allowing people to park their cars for a maximum of only 30 minutes. This time, the members deliberated on doing away with it and introducing a parking fee collection system instead.
The ‘30-minute parking system’ initiative was started in the mid of last year to address the town’s parking crunch. As the name suggests, drivers can park their cars in designated parking spots for up to 30 minutes, but they have to leave their parking lights on.
During the Dzongkhag Tshogdu held this week, the Damphu Thromde Ngotshab said this system is inconvenient and proposed starting a parking fee system instead.
“People parking their cars have to leave the blinkers on and this damages the car batteries,” said Thromde Ngotshab Dema Drukpa. “It would be better if we could introduce a parking fee collection system instead of the 30 minutes parking system. Or maybe the house could come up with another solution.”
However, most members were against the proposal.
“I feel it is a bit early to introduce parking fee collection in a small town like Damphu,” said Semjong Gup Top Nath Acharya. “The 30-minute parking system also lessens the workload on the traffic police. Since the car indicators are on, drivers don’t have to be reminded to vacate the parking space.”
Mendrelgang Mangmi Tshering also spoke in support of the 30-minute parking system. “Before introducing the 30-minute parking system, shopkeepers and residents would occupy most of the parking spots throughout the day. Visitors had to park their cars on the outskirts of the town,” he said.
“We introduced the system only last year and removing it a year later is a little irrational,” said Mendrelgang Gup Yeshey. “I feel we should use it for at least three or four more years. If we face any major problem, we can revisit it once all the town development works are complete.”
In the end, the house decided not to start the parking fee collection but continue with the 30-minute parking system.
Meanwhile, people have mixed opinions regarding the parking system.
“Giving only 30 minutes is not enough especially for those coming from far places when they have to buy general grocery items,” said Jai Bdr. Ghimiray, a resident of Damphu Town.
Bikash Rai, a cab driver, said he is happy that starting a parking fee collection was not approved. “We even had a meeting with the RSTA and we requested them against parking fee collection in the town,” he said.
The town’s residents and business owners have been given a separate parking space where they do not have to follow the 30-minute system.
Roughly around 200-300 vehicles visit the town every day.
Pema Tshewang, Tsirang
Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen