Vying for a free bicycle
Sat, May 22, 2010
Kunesel Newspaper

IN THE past few months, the cabinet secretariat office has been overwhelmed with applications from civil servants vying for a free bicycle to ride between office and home.

A Buddhist group in Tokyo, Japan, had last year donated about 350 bicycles to Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley, who was invited to the country to talk on gross national happiness.

Unable to decide on a basis to give away the bicycles, authorities responsible for distributing them are in the process of forming a committee to help them with the decision.

"For now, the applications are being sent to the road safety and transport authority (RSTA)," said an official. "Ultimately we have to discuss with the prime minister himself."

Another civil servant said that some of the bikes, which had rusted from constant contact with seawater, besides suffering minor damage while being shipped, required repairs.

"The rust could have been caused because the cycles weren?t applied anti-corrosive substance that prevents the metal from rusting," a source said. "Some bicycles were spoilt."

The cycles, an official with the cabinet secretariat said, would be sent to RSTA for repairs. He also said that a separate committee might be formed to decide whether to distribute the bikes to individual applicants or to institutions.

Many applicants said they were eagerly awaiting a response from the cabinet secretariat.

Last year, Lyonchhoen had said the bicycles would be given to people, who sincerely pledged to ride the bicycles between work and home instead of driving cars.

The idea was to turn Thimphu into a bicycle city, with the bigger vision of cutting down on carbon emissions.

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