Housing: Coinciding with the coronation day of His Majesty The King, the National Housing Development Corporation limited (NHDCL) handed 20 apartments to 33 civil servants of Gasa dzongkhag, yesterday.

Six of the apartments were allotted to 19 civil servants who will share the apartments among themselves, while rest were allotted to 14 civil servants having families.

After staying in a two-room temporary structure for more than six years, Tashi Penjore and Tashi Dorji, dzongkhag sector heads, finally received a proper concrete apartment.

Like majority civil servants working in the district, the two has lived in a decade old government structure till now. Most of the houses do not have proper toilets and in most cases the toilet and kitchens are located outside the house.

Ten of the 20 newly built NHDCL units have three bedrooms, while the rest have two bedrooms. All the units have two toilets, one kitchen, one sitting room and a storeroom. The houses were allotted based on the NHDCL housing guidelines and also based on the dzongkhag committee’s decision, said Gasa dzongrab Tshewang Jurme.

“Till date we don’t have staff quarters,” said the dzongrab. “Housing was the first challenge faced by civil servants coming to Gasa.”

With the immense housing crunch and not even a single government quarter, the dzongkhag has been putting up civil servants in old school structures and old government structures. The civil servants working in the district used to convert old structures into rooms which was then shared by two to three families.

“In most cases, more than two families had to stay in two room temporary structures,” said the dzongrab. Civil servants were reluctant to come to Gasa due to the housing problem.

After learning about acute housing shortages in Gasa district, the NHDCL decided to build some apartments for the civil servants working in the district, said Chador Y Jamtsho, officiating managing director at NDHCL.

“In 2012, when we conducted housing survey in Gasa, and subsequently the dzongkhag has also given the land for construction.”

He said in August 2013 they started with the construction. However, the construction came with several challenges including labor shortage and having to change more than 13 groups of labourers and five engineers.

The houses were constructed by Neten Construction.

“Recently we have constructed 24 unit houses in Phuentsholing and 24 units in Samdupjongkhar,” he said. Currently, 20 units are under construction in Lhuntse.

NHDCL is also planning to construct more houses in Phuenthsoling and Samdrupjongkhar, said Chador Y Jamtsho. This was because of the acute housing shortages faced in these two places.

Meanwhile, Dorji Wangdi, a district court employee questioned the NHDCL officials about whether the court employees are eligible to apply for the housing. To which the NHDCL officiating MD said all the government employees are eligible to apply, however, the allotment should be done as per the seniority of the application and first come first basis.

None of the court employees have received a new apartment, Dorji Wangdi said.

Dawa Gyelmo, Gasa