|Crazy Affair: Let loose (Photo by Penstar)|
It all began with rumors doing the round that the government was going to raise 100% tax on import of vehicles and then there was this Rupee Crunch. And then everyone wanted to sell cars and to be on safer side everyone wanted to buy used cars. And that condition bred more and more used car dealers in towns.
The prices of the old cars skyrocketed to that extent that some owners thought their used cars were made out of gold and hence precious. We live in an interesting era, where the market price of a five-year-old car is priced more than its actual cost price.
I admit cars are no more luxury in Bhutan, especially if you live far off from your offices located mostly in the towns. Those families owning more than five or six cars in the family will know if cars are still luxury at all. And then we have those selfish people (I call them selfish because they already have more than one car at home) talk about the traffic congestion and air pollution. They are worried about the effect of having more cars and these supposedly concerned people think that we should limit the number of cars to a extent where they can drive without having to wait. But if you walk into their houses, you won’t be surprised to find more than two cars in their garage. Some farmers may not own that many cows!
So, why is everyone up against those who want to buy cars? Maybe if the concerned authority should really do this, they should allow only one car a family – one car per family should be the personal right (maybe that should be reflected in our constitution too) and if it is more than one, then we should come up with a system, whereby the buyer is heavily heavily taxed because that shows he can afford it. And I feel one car per person/family should not even be taxed (going by the necessity of it).
And then we heard about imposition of green tax by National Assembly. We are not sure where it reached now and what happened. Import of vehicles is still banned and banks are yet to lift suspension on their loans. I marvel how automobile dealers are paying their employees without single sale for months and wonder how banks are going to show profit on their profit and loss account at the end of the year.
The number of city buses has increased dramatically in the town. It is cheaper than having to travel in taxis. Of late government allowed private companies to run city bus-services. Being private companies these buses are said to be (mostly) doing what they like – stopping at wrong places, plying even at nights, not following steady timetables, etc. Due to peer pressure, our city buses became more and more irregular in their timing and stop at undesignated places. Due to pressures from private companies, these buses take passengers beyond their capacities. There is terrible odor of sweat emitted in the buses, and having to stand the whole way almost makes you limp for a day or two. But what can we do? There is no other way.
So, if you have to reach office by 9AM, you have to reach office by 9 AM, and not 9.30 AM or 10 in the late morning. That can’t be done. But if you are at the mercy of these transport facilities, you have no choice. What can we do about it? Sometimes the buses reach the place by 8.30 and we go there at 8:30, but by then they would have left at 8.15. We come at 8.15 the next day and wait. But they reach at 8.45 AM. What can we do about it? How can you run transport services like that when punctuality counts like anything? We can’t blame Bhutan Post and City bus drivers because they toss the same blame back at the private companies. What is the point of blaming anyone? At the most our city buses have become big taxis in town accommodating more than 100 passengers.
And now the only choice we have is to possess our personal cars for which we go back to the same story.
This is an interesting time and this crazy affair of selling and buying used cars (precious cars made out of gold) will continue in B-Bay on facebook.
P.S: It has been almost two months since I blogged anything and it seems it is an angry comeback. Sorry readers and thank you for reading it!