With road connectivity, Dophuchen has changed in the last decade, but Bazaar Dara town wears a weary look.
The town is Dophuchen’s unofficial and only town. Although it is the centre and caters to three gewogs of Dophuchen drungkhag, the town does not have basic amenities such as public toilet facilities.
Business people and residents said that the lack of a proper toilet facility is affecting the town’s image.
A restaurant owner, Buddha Lepcha, said visitors also faced the problem. “Toilet is a big problem in this town. A public toilet has to be there.”
He said his restaurant had lost customers, as there are no toilets and customers had to walk away to find toilets in other buildings. A public toilet is more important for the visitors than to local residents here.
“I even raised the issue with some concerned agencies,” Buddha Lepcha said.
Some people also say that the town lacks facilities because the drungkhag has not identified Bazaar Dara as the town and township did not begin.
“This place has to be first identified officially as a town,” a businessman, Nobchey Doya, said.
He said most of the Bazaar Dara area still belonged to the Dophuchen Middle Secondary School (DMSS).
“And there is no government land in the area for construction. The town had remained a centre for a long time but without any facilities.”
Nobchey Doya said it would rather be good if the area were extended.
Recently, a new basic health unit with better facilities was opened. A central school is also under construction at Dogar and people are hoping DMSS would provide some land for the town’s priority.
Dorokha residents said Bazaar Dara is the centre area considering its proximity with the drungkhag office, police station, and several other government offices.
Many house owners in the town also did not have thrams for the land where their houses were built. In 2017, about 11 of them who have houses at Bazaar Dara, received thrams as kidu from His Majesty.
A Bazaar Dara resident said Dorokha has developed to an extent. “However, to further bring development and provide quality services to people and customers, a satellite town is required at the earliest.”
He said a proper bus terminal with basic facilities like toilet and a luggage room is required.
Dophuchen drungpa, Karma Jurmi, said apart from the land people received last year, other land at Bazaar Dara still belonged to the DMSS.
“We do not have separate land as such,” he said. “Due to this, we are not able to develop it into a town.”
He said the drungkhag administration has proposed for satellite town development in the 12th Plan. “However, before anything, we have to first formalise the land as it belongs to the school.”
Another Dophuchen resident, CB Rai, said many meetings and discussions have occurred in the past to identify a location for a new town. “There were no suitable sites under the government land.”
Rajesh Rai | Dorokha