May 7, Thimphu: As a part of the project proposal, ‘Urban greenery re-vitalisation by enhancing capacity on floriculture and amenity landscaping’, a Japanese delegates presented their perspectives for green Bhutan to the relevant stakeholders from the Ministry, Thimphu Thromde and Royal Thimphu College (RTC) in a meeting.
The delegates have been in Bhutan since April 29 to evaluate the overall development of Thimphu City and especially the public parks in and around the city. Prof. (Ms.) Mikiko Ishikawa, an international expert of urban garden design presented her findings and recommendations on the present and future of urban parks in Bhutan. She shared some of the developmental cases of urban parks in Japan and the world through her experiences.
Prof. Ishikawa highlighted that Bhutan needs a policy for the unprotected areas which covers some 48.6% of the country, which has been noted as a crisis for rich biodiversity with ugly overcrowded infrastructures. Without proper establishment of town and country planning, the rapid urbanisation had led to an inadequate developmental control with few or no greenery in the urban areas.
Prof. Ishikawa also pointed out some of the sites like dangerous hillside developments, the urban areas which needed restoration, street tree system and the inadequate sewer system. She said that the country needed more parks for children and also pointed out a need for a capacity development in the field of landscape designing. She suggested that the diversity of the trees needs to be increased and stated that ‘our project is grass root and we need a long term scheme vision.’
Mr. Ganesh Chettri, the Offtg. Agriculture Director said ‘It gives me confidence to realise not all is lost, a lot can be done.’ He thanked Prof. Mikiko for opening up the minds and for providing the ideas. He said he fully agreed and supported the ideas presented. Seeking support from the expatriates, Mr. Ganesh said ‘We can make small beginnings though capacity is one of the areas of intervention.’
‘Five years ago, the floriculture and landscape was never a priority for the Agriculture Department’, said Ms. Kinley Tshering, the Chief Horticulture Officer. She said it was food and cash income which was prioritised. ‘During the 10th FYP, the interest was shown, now it is a priority of the Ministry and there is also a full support from the Royal family,’ she stated.
Dr. Tashi Yangzome, the Program Director for the National Biodiversity of Bhutan said ‘Thimphu city is looking ugly as time passes’ and called it as ‘Ugly concrete jungle.’ She also shared the need for the improvement of the urban centre.
Correspondingly, Mr. Dorji Wangchuk, the Dean of RTC said, ‘This concrete infrastructure is creeping into the rural areas, killing the essence of being Bhutanese.’
Further, the need for support and cooperation from the stakeholders and particularly from the higher authority was felt necessary. ‘We need to share and the important players should be awakened’ said Mr. Ganesh Chettri.
Reported by Tashi Yangzom, ICS with photo by Choidup Zangpo, ICS
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