The new Sarpang township at Shechamthang is slowly taking shape. Construction of two bungalows has been completed and construction of three more have just begun.

The dzongkhag administration has received at least 71 applications from plot owners and site plans have been issued. The dzongkhag’s engineering section also approved structural drawing of 25 plots owners – 10 are single-storey houses, 11 are double-storey structures, and three are three-storey buildings.

Shechamthang has a total of 22.9-acre area for 522 plots as per the local area plan.

Principal engineer, Tashi Chophel, said that although there are 522 plot owners, most of them have not applied for construction. Most of the plot owners are villagers who cannot afford to construct a building in the new town.

Economic viability of the new town is a concern for the plot owners.

“It is only because of visits from the higher authorities and meeting with the public that plot owners have started construction,” Tashi Chophel said.

The old Sarpang town was washed away by a flood last year

Human Settlement Minister Dorji Choden met the landowners twice to expedite construction in the new town. The ministry is facilitating private landowners with technical details on construction of one- and two-storey buildings in traditional style. This is following a landowner’s concern that they were not being able to afford concrete structures.  Depending on the interest of the landowners, the ministry agreed to provide samples of building designs for owners to start constructions.

In the town plan area, at least 2.4km primary road of 20-metre width has been constructed. Formation cutting for 8.8km secondary road has also been done.

According to officials, one of the ad-hoc activities initiated to kickstart Shechamthang Local Area Plan is construction of a municipal office. Tender has been floated for the project and temporary water supply system is under construction.

Shechamthang has 112 households with population of 629 people.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang