Exploring options for the Education City space

Project: The Education City plan may be long dead, but there are talks going on and ideas being scratched to put the space and infrastructure at Wang Sisina to some use.

A group of Bhutanese “think tanks” are discussing how to better utilize the Education City area that has remained idle for almost two years after the government shut it down. The group will soon propose a ‘good’ project to the Cabinet.

Works and Human Settlement minister Dorji Choden who is also the chairperson of the Education City board said that the Cabinet has directed a group of “think tanks” to work on ideas on how best the project area could be utilized.

There are also chances that the Education City project could be revived. If not, other better projects are awaited.

Lyonpo Dorji Choden added that the government couldn’t afford to waste the investments made at the project area. Until a new decision is made, the Education City Secretariat office at Motithang will be up.

A monthly rent of Nu 18,000 will continue to be paid.

“As soon as the group submits its report, we’ll start working,” Lyonpo Dorji Choden said. “We did not want to displace the equipment and office records so the office space is still occupied.”

She added that the area is good and since land is scarce many other good projects could be started there.

Cabinet declared its decision to shut down the Education City project in March 2014 after National Land Commission termed it ‘illegal’ by implementing the provisions of the land Act

Former Chief Executive Officer of the project handed over the office at Motithang, infrastructure at Wang Sisina and other office equipment to the Department of Road’s chief Engineer Tshering Wangdi ‘A’ in August last year.  An area of 1,000-acre land was identified for the project.

Sources say that unless the Education City Act 2012 is dissolved, the project cannot be closed once for all. The Parliament passed the Education City Act in 2012.

At Wang Sisina 2.52km blacktopped road that was never used is already in need of repair. Recently, Tshering Wangdi ‘A’ put up a proposal to the Cabinet to construct a baily bridge worth about Nu 2M (million) over the stream leading to the project area.

Meanwhile, about Nu 11M remains in the Education City account, which is currently being utilized to pay off office rent and for carrying out other maintenance work at the project site.

“There are landslides debris to be cleared and drainages cleaned at the project site and the road is filled with cow dung,” Tshering Wangdi ‘A’ said.

Education City Secretariat also has a fixed deposit account with Bhutan National Bank for about Nu 58M. The fixed deposit term was extended until October next year following directives from the finance ministry, he said.

The office at Motithang has furniture worth approximately Nu 0.5M, electrical items worth Nu 33,000, computer related equipment worth Nu 350,000 and other accessories worth Nu 200,000.

The office remains locked all the time.

Nirmala Pokhrel

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