For almost three years, a civil servant in Trashiyangtse has been sharing a quarter in a traditional house with one of his friends near Bayling central school.

“I cannot afford to live in the town because of the exorbitant house rents,” the civil servant said. “Moreover, it is difficult to find a decent house in nearby areas.”

With no government quarters for civil servants in the dzongkhag, most dzongkhag staff live in the nearby villages, according to the dzongkhag planning officer, Sonam Thinley.

The existing National Housing Development Corporation Ltd (NHDCL) colony in the town was built for supporting staff and did not have quarters for officers.

He said the dzongkhag administration in July wrote to NHDCL, requesting to construct staff quarters for the civil servants.

The letter stated that with the commencement of Kholongchu project, the civil servants in the dzongkhag have continued to face acute housing shortage since 2016.

“House owners charge exorbitant rents which have escalated to Nu 8,000 from Nu 4,000 a month, which a regular civil servant cannot afford,” the letter stated. “With less than 45 private houses in the town, house rents have increased after the project staff started to settle in Yangtse town.”

The dzongkhag requested NHDCL to construct 40 unit quarters for dzongkhag officers stating that the dzongkhag had enough space for construction above the existing NHDCL colony.

Sonam Thinley said that besides addressing the housing crunch in the dzongkhag, the new colony would help to create a conducive environment for civil servants to deliver their duties effectively.

“Civil servants from other dzongkhags refuse to come to Yangtse because of the housing problem,” he said. “Many are reluctant to come here and there are problems to get a replacement of the outgoing staff.”

It was learnt that NHDCL has proposed to build three buildings with 24 units each in Trashiyangtse in the next two-three years.

However, dzongkhag officials said it would be of no use because by the time the new housing colony gets completed, even the project officials would have moved to their new colony in Doksum.

Meanwhile, a private employee, Tashi Tshering, said that house owners increase the rents frequently without any prior notice. “They ask us to leave if we cannot pay the rent,” he said. “We are living at the mercy of the house owners.”

Younten Tshedup  | Trashiyangtse