Development: The dzongkhag thromde elections are on the horizon but to function as a thromde, Damphu first needs to work on its structural plans.

Damphu has three Local Area Plans (LAP), of which formation cutting of an internal road network has begun for LAP III. But only one LAP has a structural plan. A structural plan is a basic necessity for infrastructure development or any other developmental activities in a thromde.

Currently two surveyors from the National Land Commission are carrying out a topographical survey of the 614 acre Damphu municipality. The survey will be completed in a month or two, following which a structural plan can be drawn.

LAP I begins from the Damphu Central School to the fuel station. LAP II falls from the fuel station until the hospital, which covers the core town area. The area between the hospital and the drasthang falls under LAP 3.

Without an approved structural plan residents in the urban villages I and II are not able to carry out constructions of permanent structures. And the core town area falls within urban village II, which also does not have an approved structural plan. Most of the structures in the core town were constructed before 1997 when a structural plan was not required.

Executive engineer of Damphu municipality, Tshewang Tenzin said residents in the urban villages I and II are applying to construct permanent structures but in the absence of one, the applications could not be approved.

“There are at least 10 vacant plots in the core town area,” he said. “It will be difficult for Damphu to function as a thromde without structural plans.”

He added that a structural plan can be drawn by the works and human settlement ministry, after the topographical survey is completed.

Meanwhile, the talk in the town is that at least six people are aspiring to contest the upcoming election for the post of thrompon. The next thrompon will be welcomed with several priority issues.

By October this year Damphu will also have its much awaited bypass highway. About 45 percent of the 1.8km bypass is complete.

Construction of the road began 2007. After excavating about 800m, the project was closed because of a lack of budget. The 10m width and double laned highway is expected to decongest Damphu town.

The Government of India (GoI) is funding the bypass at a cost of Nu 40 million (M), under the Small Development Project (SDP).

Although GoI initially approved Nu 40M, executive engineer Tshewang Tenzin said the contractor’s quoted rate was 32.4M. So only the quoted amount will be released.

Nirmala Pokhrel