The National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) has allotted 506 affordable flats in Phuentsholing to Bhutanese living across the border. The allotments were done through a lucky draw.

On the first day of allotment on December 22, the registered 725 applicants stayed until 11pm for the allotment. They were again called yesterday for verification and agreement.

There are two categories of apartments—III and IV—and the rent depends as per the size of the floor. The monthly rent ranges from Nu 3,957 and Nu 6,760.

As per the conditions of allotment, NHDCL chief executive officer Thinley Dorji said the tenancy agreement shall be valid for two years and renewed every two years, up to a maximum of four times, after which the tenant would have to vacate the flat.

“The tenants can occupy the quarter for a maximum period of 10 years as per the allotment rules and regulations of NHDCL,” he said.

Initially, 1,259 applicants had registered with NHDCL.

Over the past two years, 237 applicants have moved from Jaigaon to other places. Another 314 applicants have no contact points or did not turn up for verifications. Out of 725 verified on the list, 52 did not show up.

Thinley Dorji said the timely completion of the project was possible with support from the government and various agencies and Phuentsholing Thromde.

“With the completion of special housing project consisting of 62 buildings with 506 units, this project would be able to achieve the vision of His Majesty The King,” he said.

Meanwhile, many people were unhappy about the location. There are 10 different locations and many of those who got their flats at Toribari were unhappy. Four even surrendered their quarters.

A housewife, Meto Selden, 26, was confused whether to take the flat at Toribari or not. She stays at Chinese Lane today.

“It is very far and I don’t own a car,” she said, explaining her husband is a driver.

Karma Wangmo, who also got a Toribari flat was searching for someone who could exchange with her flat yesterday.

“I am a sales girl in a shop and Toribari would be far for me and expensive due to transportation cost,” she said.

Several others who got flats at Toribari pointed the long distance to school for their children and transportation costs. There are 102 units at Toribari, which is about eight kilometers from the thromde.

Tshewang Norbu, who was allotted affordable house in the thromde said he would finally get free of paying huge amount in electricity bills across the border. He said he used to pay Nu 3,000 to Nu 5,000 in electricity bills in a month.

“I am very happy and grateful,” he said.

Royal Bhutan Police and department of labour also sensitised on the safety and other precautionary measures to all 506 tenants yesterday.

Rajesh Rai  | Phuentsholing