62 buildings with 506 units are under construction at 10 different locations

Almost two years after works began to address the housing crisis and help Bhutanese living across the border avail affordable houses in Phuentsholing, the project is gearing to allot the first set of housing units.

A total of 296 units will be ready next month and allotted between July and August.

The constructions of these units were allotted to seven different contractors in December 2016.

At Toorsa embankment towards Chamkuna, there are five buildings that are almost complete. Officials at the site said 99 percent of the works were complete.

In all, 62 buildings with 506 units are being constructed in 10 different locations on an area of 13.56 acres. The total duration of project is 18 months.

The remaining 210 units, under the second allotment phase, will be ready by September, and allotted in October. National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) is executing these projects since April 2017.

With close to 3,000 Bhutanese estimated to be living across the border, the project provides them priority. About 1,259 applicants have registered for the apartments with NHDCL as of January 8 this year.

This means the units would not accommodate all the families and certain rules and criterion have been established.

NHDCL managing director Thinley Dorji said a seven-member allotment committee has been constituted to do the allotment.

“The allotment will be done as per the allotment rules and regulations of NHDCL and the criteria will be finalised by the allotment committee by end of this month,” he said.

Civil servants, corporate employees, employees working in industries, private enterprises, and drivers, housewives, and others, are eligible.

The criteria, as per the NHDCL rules, would allow one allotment per household.Applicant details shall be verified at the time of allotment. Applicants or spouses availing other public housing facilities are not eligible and priority would be given to those having more dependent in the same census.

NHDCL officials also said applicants having business establishments registered in Phuentsholing would be eligible for allotment and only those working with the registered firms in Phuentsholing will be eligible for the units.

Applicants categorised as floating population are not eligible for housing. The rents will range from Nu 4,500 to Nu 6,500, which would be worked out based on the floor area.

Thinley Dorji said the project would address the severe housing crunch that residents are facing in Phuentsholing.

“If the project is delivered before the deadline, a rental incentive has been announced to the contractors as reflected in the tender clauses,” he said.

The 97th Cabinet meeting held on February 16, 2016 established a special committee to initiate affordable housing in Phuentsholing.

The Committee chaired by the finance minister has members from National Land Commission, Phuentsholing Thromde, Ministry of Works and Human Settlement, and NHDCL.

The Special Committee is mandated to oversee the housing needs and address the acute housing shortage problems being faced by people living in Phuentsholing through construction of new affordable housing units.

The total project cost is Nu 890 million (M), including the site development, infrastructure and other amenities.

NHDCL also plans to construct an additional 24 units by July.

 Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing