Come winter holidays and students are working as part-time parking fee collectors to earn pocket money.
Fourteen-year old Tashi Dorji Ghalley is a temporary parking fee collector below Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital.
He is from Samtse and studying in the seventh standard in Sang-Ngag Chhoeling Lower Secondary School under Samtse Dzongkhag.
Being the eldest child with parents in the village and a younger brother, he assumed the responsibility of earning to buy his own stationeries and other necessities for school.
His friends who worked as parking fee collectors before encouraged him to join as one. Currently, he stays with his paternal uncle and works for 12 hours every day starting 9am.
Tashi Dorji Ghalley said that he feels excited when the parking lot is filled to the capacity because that means more money.
He said that the most challenging thing about his work is catching the drivers before they leave without paying.
“Some drivers refuse to pay parking fees saying that they do not have change and others pay only half the amount giving the same excuse,” he said.
After having worked as a parking fee collector for a few days now, he said that he understands the value of time and importance of education.
His work has helped him develop calculation skills and time management.
He added that another perk that come with his job is interacting with different people.
Tashi Dorji Ghalley has earned Nu 500 so far in three days. In a day if he earns more than Nu 700, he has to pay Nu 500 to the agency that employs him.
In five hours, he is able to earn more than Nu 100.
However, if he is not able to meet the target, he has to pay Nu 200. He plans to work for two more weeks.
He also plans to work next vacation if his parents allow.
Another 14-year-old, Khem Raj Ghalley is also working as a parking fee collector in the same area. He is studying at Khasadrupchu Middle Secondary School in Thimphu. According to him, his friends under the same agency encouraged him to work part-time.
Khem Raj Ghalley plans to buy new clothes with his earnings.
Every day, the parking fee collectors receive a bundle of tickets, which they place on the vehicles that are parked in their allocated parking area and the respective car owners are charged according to the time.
Thimphu Thromde sets the rules and regulations for charging the parking fee. Being temporary employees, both Tashi Dorji Ghalley and Khem Raj Ghalley do not receive a salary. Instead, they take what is left over after paying the agency that employs them.
Khem Raj Ghalley also said that some drivers refuse to pay parking fee but most people appreciate him.
Currently both are working under the Kuenchep Enterprise.
The manager of Kuenchep Enterprise, Tandin Dorji, said that his agency employs students as part-time workers when the permanent employees are on leave.
But they do not have records of students who work as part-time fee collectors.
Both Tashi Dorji Ghalley and Khem Raj Ghalley admitted that though they enjoyed working as parking fee collectors, studying in school feels better because the work is strenuous.
Tshering Yangden from Thimphu