National Housing Development Corporation Limited’s (NHDCL) housing scheme at Toribari to ease housing shortage in Phuentsholing is not very popular with the tenants.
From the 506 apartments alloted to Bhutanese living across the border in December last year, about 77 apartments have been returned to NHDCL, out of which 71 were from Toribari and six from Bangay in Toorsa.
Distance and high rents were the two primary reasons for returning the apartments.
Somaya Rai, a private employee, is living in a rented house in Jaigaon. She returned the apartment she was allotted at Toribari.
“My office is in the town area and Toribari is very far from town,” she said. “Transportation is the problem.”
She would have considered if exchange was available. There was none. She decided to cancel the allotment without having the apartment at Toribari.
In Jaigaon, Somaya Rai pays Nu 4,500 rent.
Tshering Zangmo also cancelled the apartment in Toribari. She said the rent, more than Nu 6,500 per month, was expensive for her.
“And it is far away from town.”
Dorji Wangchuk, a corporate employee, was allotted a flat at Bangay. He cancelled the allotment after he found that there was water problem in the apartment.
“I got at the first floor and the rent was Nu 6,600,” he said. “I don’t have a car and transportation is a major problem.”
After surrendering the NHDCL apartment, Dorji Wangchuk is now back to Chinese Lane where he used to live. He pays a rent of Nu 4,500 in Chinese Lane.
In December 22 last year, 725 registered applicants, all who lived across the border, participated in the allotment lucky draw. There were 506 apartments available.
Housing at Toribari has 102 apartments.
NHDCL will, on January 20, allot the returned apartments to those applicants who were not lucky with the first draw. There are 124 applicants.
NHDCL’s managing director, Thinley Dorji, said most who got apartments at Toribari were truck drivers and faced problems at the Rinchending Gate as they had to leave as early as three in the morning.
“They also got home late in the night,” he said.
Thinley Dorji said that most people who cancelled the apartments were living in a one-room flat across the border. Considering the size and rooms of NHDCL apartments, rents are very reasonable, he added.
On the water problem, Thinley Dorji said that there is 99.8 percent water connectivity in all the apartments. The minor connectivity problems would be solved.
Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing