Shop owners in Dagapela, who received land ownership certificate about four months ago, are waiting for construction approval from the dzongkhag administration.

The residents are waiting to find out if they could construct small houses, as the plot sizes are small.

Most shop owners said the size of plots they got was too small to accommodate permanent structures. Some of the plot sizes are less than a decimal.

A shopkeeper, Passang Dema, 50, bought a shop along with a house almost two decades ago.

She runs a small shop on the ground floor and lives on the first floor.

She said she is happy that she finally got the land ownership. “As much as I’m excited to construct a new house, I’m worried how I will construct a building, at least a two storied one in a plot of three decimal.”

Passang Dema said dzongkhag officials suggest them to construct structures jointly. “But that won’t be possible, as it would create a lot of complications.”

She also said they learnt the water supply project for the town will take another two years. “Until then Dagapela town isn’t going to change.”

Another shopkeeper, Krishna Birbal Tamang, has been running a shop in the town since 1984.

He said that while he is happy that he got land ownership, the plot size has confused him.

He got less than one decimal in his name in the land ownership certificate he received few months back. “The size of the plot is too small to construct a structure. Most plot sizes in town are 0.5 decimal to 5 decimal.”

The town has at least 36 plots.

He said the government should revisit the size of the plots. “Dzongkhag administration told us to construct a house within our space but they are too small to construct a permanent structure.”

Residents said they hope some solutions would be worked out soon.

They also say that the town is shabby, dusty and dirty. Most say it is time that permanent structures are built to change the face of the town.

Another landowner, Dal Bahadur Gurung, 50, said while they have been adjusting in small room shops and residence for years, residents are eagerly waiting for construction to begin so that they could have a proper structure with basic amenities.

At the moment Dal Bahadur and his family use a toilet that’s located almost five minutes away. That distant toilet too does not have enough water to flush and wash. “Even if we construct a permanent structure, the too small plot won’t have space for toilet and residence,” he said.

He added that if the plot size issue were addressed, he would construct a permanent structure by availing loan. The 50 year old has been running his shop in the town for almost 24 years.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang