Industrial Service Centre yet to be developed

Industry: The Gelephu Thromde has only begun ground works on developing the Industrial Service Centre and the office is overwhelmed with applications reserving a space in what looks like a good prospectus for businesses in the border town.

The 79-acre land identified near the Army Welfare Project for the service centre has been plotted into 90 plots.  As of yesterday, at least 153 people have already proposed to the thromde to start business at the centre. But the thromde will not start approving without clear directives from the government on the lease rate. They have not started screening the applications.

Lessees are already drawing conclusions on the lease rate. They feel the current commercial lease rate of Nu 42/sqft (square feet) is expensive while their business is not as viable as in other thromdes such as Thimphu and Phuentsholing.

Thromde officials said that a proposal to revise the commercial lease rate was put to the finance ministry, but nothing has been heard so far. Officials pointed out that currently any state land leased out in Gelephu has been given in the commercial lease rate while there is need for applying different rates for different precincts.

For instance, according to the structural plan of Gelephu thromde, there are nine precincts and 26 sub-precincts. For having distinguished land use type, thromde officials are of the view that there is a need to have different lease rates.

“If we continue applying commercial rates to all precincts, having a structural plan in a thromde is almost useless,” an official said. “Moreover with 16 new thromdes coming up, this needs to be clarified at the earliest.”

Meanwhile, the thromde is considering prioritizing applications from existing industries in Gelephu to move to the new Industrial Service Centre.  Automobile workshops, scrap dealers, other small and medium manufacturing industries currently are scattered all over the town.  Moreover, the area the 23 automobile workshops and scrap dealers occupy along the road towards border gate falls in the boulevard precincts.

Among the 153 applicants for space in the Industrial Service Centre, senior Urban Planner Asish Kumar Chuwan said 32 are for automobile workshops, 25 for carwash, and another 15 for manufacturing, wood and fabrication industries.

“A noodle factory (small scale) and a pencil factory are some of the new projects that will come up here,” he said.  There will also be automobile showrooms, showrooms for other finished products and a scrap dealer for electronic waste will occupy the space.

Thromde’s urban planner Jigme Tshering said that at the moment ground development works at the Industrial Service Centre is being carried out.  Works such as construction of internal roads, sewerage, and water supply are under way.

Nirmala Pokhrel