Wai! If roadside scenes in Bhutan are changing today, it’s partly thanks to vegetable sellers. As one drives along the east-west highway, one would see in certain places people sitting by the roadside with fresh, organic vegetables, cheese, butter, whey, and milk. These are farmers taking advantage of the winding road passing by their villages. They sell small quantities of vegetables, fresh out of their kitchen gardens and a kilo or two of butter and cheese. They evoke refreshingly bucolic feelings in weary travellers. They are welcome.
Of late, some Thimphu residents have started lining the roadsides with mostly imported vegetables. For example, the tri-junction in Hejo is mostly crowded with vegetable sellers who sit by, whole day, creating human and traffic congestion as cars stop by to check out. Ironically, most of them are imported vegetables sellers, who could pay some amount and easily avail themselves of some space at the Centenary Farmers’ Market.
Thimphu is a city and the way people go about their business should be more organised. Vegetable sellers have their place, just as truckers and taxi drivers. We cannot allow residents to create ugly scenes, waste, and congestion at their own whims. From Hejo, it’s about four kilometres to the farmers’ market. Thimphu is a small place and we cannot have mini markets sprouting up at inconvenient bends and corners. This can cause road accidents.
And added to these mini markets are cattle and horses. Thimphu city has never been able to rein in stray cattle and horses that roam the city roads freely, making it dangerous to drive or walk around. The City’s love for farm animals should end. And the sooner, the better.