Phuentsholing is a town that has been growing rapidly. And with the lack of space, congestion has been a problem for a long time. With the number of vehicles growing by the day, finding a parking space in the town is a real challenge. The town has hit its limit.

As a border town and the country’s biggest commercial hub with the population of close to 70,000, Phuentsholing has been groaning under urban pressures like housing and traffic. A large number of low-income Bhutanese are compelled to live across the border in Jaigaon. When the schools close for summer and winter vacations, the town is literally choked with people and vehicles that it becomes suffocating.

The town is also a favourite place for meetings, conferences, seminars, and workshops in winter because of milder weather, which adds pressure on the town’s carrying capacity. As winter begins its hold in the northern parts of the country, the thromde is worried about the impact this could bring to the town that has no space to expand. The town’s thrompon and executive secretary have begun appealing to the government to intervene, to advise meetings, conferences, seminars, and workshops to be taken to other parts of the country. It is an appeal to the organisers, to make them aware of the situation.

The thromde has, as a measure to address traffic congestion, opened an alternative route at the confluence of Amochhu and Omchhu. Traffic police are also guiding pedestrians to help the traffic flow. To ease congestion in the town, the construction of multi-layer car parking, three-storied vegetable market house, and a mini-dry port are some of the projects that are underway. These are critically important developments for the town.

While it is important to consider the issues facing the town, perhaps the real point that we are missing is development priority. Much of the problems confronting the town today are the results of lack or poor planning. The spaces available in the town have not been used effectively.

It is hoped that with the coming of the Amochhu land reclamation and township project, the problem of space and congestion would be solved to a large degree.