Industry: Work on the Dhamdum Industrial Park in Samtse is in full swing.

Roads, drainage, and river training are expected to be completed by July this year.

Work on the 349-acre park began in August last year with the tendering of two packages.

Ms Tsamgar Construction is building roads and a storm water drain. The company’s proprietor Tshewang Norbu said formation cutting for the road to the industrial park is complete and blacktopping along with other related work will now commence.

The contractor said that both the road and drainage will be completed by July.

Ms SKD Construction is working on training about 640m of the Dhamdumchhu. The company’s owner Singey Dorji said 50 percent of the training work is complete and expects it to be completed by June. The deadline is July 20.

The economic affairs ministry’s industries department chief engineer Kezang Deki said work progress on the park is satisfactory.

Two more packages have been tendered out and works begun. This includes a water supply system and a building for the park.

Another tender for river training has been floated. The length of training works is approximately 1.2km. Since the funds required for river training is high, Kezang Deki said that they will award the work depending upon availability of funding.

Under Project Tied Assistance, the Government of India (GoI) is funding Nu 300 million (M) for all these works in the present Plan.

There are various other amenities that need to be provided like electricity and boundary walls before companies can start shifting to the park. A fund of more than Nu 2 billion is needed.

A proposal for funding in the next Plan has also been submitted to the Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC). Although not yet confirmed, there are indications that GoI will continue funding the project in the next Plan.

There are 77 plots available for companies in the park. The plots vary in size from 0.5 to 2.2 acres, which would be allotted depending on the size and type of companies.

Only small and medium agro, service, and mineral based projects, and cottage industries will be allowed to operate in the park. These companies will also be required to have pollution control measures in place.

Lease rates are yet to be established. The Department of Industries has submitted its lease rates to the economic affairs ministry, and Cabinet approval is required.

Kezang Deki also said that they are half way through the drafting of Industrial Development Rules and Regulations (IDRR). “It will basically have rules on how to develop individual plots and infrastructure,” she said, adding that it would bring uniformity.

At present, industrial estates do not have such common rules and regulations.

About 600 acres of land was identified for the industrial park in 2006. However, because of the Samtse municipality plans much of the land required could not be acquired. The park was then reduced to 349 acres.

The close proximity to the Indian market, availability of mineral reserves, and the Samtse-Phuentsholing highway are the key elements that is expected to give an added advantage to the industrial park in Dhamdum.

Among the four industrial parks, Dhamdum is the most feasible in terms of economic development and security.

Rajesh Rai | Samtse