Construction for new town yet to begin

Choki Wangmo | Tsirang

Dagana’s dzongkhag administration issued land ownership certificates (Lagthrams) to 332 plot owners in Dagapela on February 19.

Out of the 332 plot owners, 36 received the plots on kidu.

Tshendagang gup, Bal Bahadur Rana, said the dzongkhag had approved two prototypes for construction in the new town.

He said four plot owners have already visited the gewog administration to complete the procedures to start construction. “The dzongkhag officials said that amenities such as roads and electricity connection will be provided next year once the building foundations are dug.”

Dagapela township development planning works started in 2016.

To prepare for the demarcation, landowners dismantled their old structures in the previous town area. For more than a year, the town residents were operating their businesses from temporary sheds, which according to shopkeepers, was challenging during the monsoon and summer heat.

Some of the residents, however, are doubtful about starting the construction works soon.

A shopkeeper, Karma, said that he won’t be able to start construction this year, because of the constant lockdowns and other challenges due to the current pandemic.

He is one of the kidu recipients and has been allotted 2.3 decimals of land.

An automobile workshop owner, Chandra Bahadur Bal, said that he is not sure when he can start the construction. “We have severe water shortages in the town area. Without water, it will be challenging.”

A grocery shop owner, Lakshman Gurung, said she is not clear on how to start the construction. “We have water shortages. The pandemic has affected the import of construction materials and workers and there has been no clear instruction on land pooling.”

She said that the plot she received was too small to construct any structure. “I have only 1.2 decimals of land. For a grocery shop, we need a storehouse. I wish it was at least three decimals.”

She said only seven individuals got bigger plots. “Some plots are only 0.8 decimal.”

Lakshman said water shortages have caused a major inconvenience. “We have been managing with water from other nearby areas and offices.”

According to the gup, the owners received plots according to the size of their former structures or shops.  “Some were paan shops.”

He said that despite challenges from the current pandemic, the dzongdag has reiterated support to facilitate the import of construction materials and labourers if the residents start construction. “Except for materials like bricks and cement, other materials are locally available.”

Meanwhile, there are some residents like Nima Lhazang Sherpa whose plot doesn’t have a clear demarcation with public offices. Part of his 2.8-decimal-plot falls within the police camp and another half on the road.

The gup, however, said that such issues are being looked into by the dzongkhag administration. “They will get plot substitutions or relocation next year.”

Spanning over 380 acres, the Dagapela Local Area Plan (LAP) is composed of three phases.  While Phase I and III are designated for commercial and residential areas, Phase II is identified as industrial areas.

In an earlier interview, an official said that the Dagapela LAP will incorporate abundant open green spaces, recreation areas, walkways, and multi-sports complexes.  The developmental plan has also been incorporated with two internal roads.

The work to connect the town with an adequate drinking water supply is also underway.