…. However, Phuentsholing Thromde will need approximately Nu 500 million for complete development of infrastructure

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

With the Amochhu Local Area Plan (LAP) finalised, Phuentsholing is expected to see an increasing number of private houses in the coming years which, according to the Phuentsholing Thromde officials, could ease housing problems in the border town.

The final public consultation meeting for this LAP was held on July 7 at the Thromde office.

Phuentsholing Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said the thromde was under tremendous housing pressure before the Covid-19 and the pressure has increased today.

“There are still many people desperately looking for shelter every day. Once the economy of Phuentsholing bounces back to normalcy, there may be more rural-urban migration, people looking for opportunities, which will further aggravate housing issues.”

He said that before the housing situation worsens, it is important to implement basic infrastructure in all the LAPs and make it readily available for private landowners to construct buildings for rents.

Uttar Kumar Rai said that to solve the housing crisis and expand the town as per the structural plan of Phuentsholing Thromde, the government should inject the funding in the LAP development like in Thimphu.

With the present pattern of just annual block grants, it is very difficult to meet the expenses and so is the implementation of the LAPs, he added.

“It will be wise enough to carry out holistic development; not on a piecemeal basis.”

Amochhu LAP has about 100 acres of land and about 145 registered plot owners. The LAP is along the Amochhu River and the Phuentsholing Township Development Project (PTDP).

Thromde will need over Nu 500 millions (M) to develop the basic and necessary infrastructure for the LAP.

“We are in dire need of external funding. As a local government, Thromde does the planning and implementation part with whatever available fund we receive from the central government”, the thrompon said.

He also said that along with solving the housing problems, the LAP would create economic benefits in Phuentsholing. Amochhu LAP will have both commercial and residential infrastructure. The town will be able to accommodate 22,000 people.

A backfilling work also has to be completed before allowing the plot owners to start construction. There are also areas where the backfilling is not required where officials said plot owners could start construction.

“There is no doubt we are allowed to build structures but thromde amenities are crucial,” a plot owner said.

According to the Thromde officials, Amochhu LAP is an “urban built form.” This means there is no uniformity of buildings like that of the Bajo town. People can build as they wish.

Thromde is also proposing 10-storey buildings in Amochu LAP. As of now, only six stories are allowed.

Out of 11 LAPs in Phuentsholing, only two are fully developed.