Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

The shopkeepers who were allotted plots in the new Denchi township have to shift to the new towns by the end of this year.

However, shopkeepers said it could take another two years to complete construction of their buildings. Most of them could not even start construction.

Of the 49 who applied for land in the first phase of allotment, 27 shopkeepers received their plots. Of that, 14 commercial and a residential building are under construction while a residential building is complete.

A hotelier, Sangay Wangdi began construction last year. He said that they are not allowed to construct more than three-story, including the ground floor.

Most of the buildings under construction are four-storey structures including the underground.

He said he could have completed the building if not for the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is challenging to get labourers and transporting construction materials.”

Sangay Wangdi said the transportation charges have doubled as truckers have to transport via Bumthang.

“We’re worried if we can pay the loan instalment after the deferment ends in three months,” he said.

Some shopkeepers said they laid the foundation, but could not raise the structures for lack of labourers.

“It would help us if the dzongkhag administration could extend the deadline,” another shopkeeper, Dema said.

Pemagatshel municipal architect, Tenzin Rabgay, said the remaining 22 shopkeepers who applied for plots in the new town would get in the second phase.

He said of the 27 plot owners, 22 submitted their drawings, but only 20 drawings were approved while the remaining two had some issues and were returned for the revision.

Tenzin Rabgay said the town has the road and water supply. “The blacktopping for the road would be carried out soon,” he said.

The water treatment plant for the town is proposed in the flagship programme while the dzongkhag got about Nu 20M through small development project for the construction of a sewerage treatment plant.

He said they had proposed a budget through the common minimum infrastructure for the integrated streetlight, stormwater drainage and footpath, among others.

“We issued a letter because we wanted the business community to shift to the new town at the same time when the district administration moves to the new dzong in 2020-21.”