Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Nine new industries are ready to construct plants at the Dhamdum Industrial Park (DIP) in Samtse.

Ground breaking ceremony for these nine industries was held on December 6.

With two industries already operational at the park, there are now 11 industries at the park.

The chief engineer with the Department of Industries (DoI) in Thimphu, Kezang Deki, said the ground breaking initiative was taken despite the challenges due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“The plots were allotted for quite some time,” she said.

The DoI also has stressed to the promoters how to proceed their works after the ceremony.

DoI has advised the promoters to carry out the construction phase-wise.

“We are concerned about the timeline. They cannot just wait for the ideal situation,” Kezang Deki said. “Doing construction phase-wise is easy for them.”

Kezang Deki also said that  access road, water and electricity were available.

“DIP would help significantly in economic recovery,” Kezang Deki said.

DIP has three Pockets—A, B and C. Pocket B and C will be prioritised for now.

There are about 50 applicants so far.

Promoters are likely to face challenges of labour shortage, timely import of construction materials. Samtse is still considered Covid-19 risk zone.

Karma Chime, promoter of Bhutan Mountain Coffee, said that labour shortage and import of raw materials could affect the construction significantly.

“There is also Covid-19 travel issues. Right now I am in quarantine facility,” he said. “My plan, though, is to start construction before the rainy season.”

Another promoter, Pralad Gurung of Pallavi Furnitures, has started constructing the staff quarters. The company’s plan is to stock all the materials by January next year to begin production.

The work on the 349-acre park began in August 2016. It is one of the four Special Economic Zone projects in the country. Under Project Tied Assistance, the government of India is funding Nu 300 million (M) for the project in the current Plan.

DIP would have 77 plots for companies.