The establishment of special economic zones and commissioning mega hydropower project will happen simultaneously 

SEZ: The four industrial estates  are already running behind schedule but the government will ensure that estates are developed by the time the three mega hydropower projects comes on the line.

Sources said that there are already more than 60 proposals for industries, including 20 foreign investors. They remain on hold as yet because the country doesn’t have enough power supply and required infrastructure in place.

For an industrial revolution of sort to instigate, huge power supply and land is necessary. How would the machines and factories to kick-start or else?

While the commissioning of 720MW Mangdechhu, 1,200 MW Punatsangchhu I and 1020MW Punatsangchhu II is due in 2018 and 2019 respectively, the government is hopeful to complete industrial estates by the end of the 11th plan.

“We will not be able to commit because of different situations but works in all sites are progressing well,” said finance minister Namgay Dorji.

He said that the government has prioritized the four industrial estates – Jigmeling in Gelephu, Motanga in Samdrupjongkhar, Damdhum in Samtse, and Bongdema in Mongar.

Prime Minister said that not much had been done in the estates when the government took over. “It is already late now,” he added. In the next one or two years, the government will begin approving industries based on the power availability.

Should the three mega projects come on the line, he said 3,000 MW power would be added to the national grid for the power intensive industries. Currently, the country has to import power during the lean winter months for domestic consumption.

Fencing and water supply work for Nu 800 million worth Jigmeling special economic zone is underway. Environmental and fencing work of Nu 633 million Motanga is also progressing.

As for Bongdema, the government has awarded the work to construct a bridge to CDCL, while fencing and water supply work have already started.

Since Damdhum in Samtse is under threat from flood, river protection work has begun. The project is expected to cost Nu 300 million.

Since the DHI-INFRA has handed over the work to economic affairs without much progress, Lyonpo Namgay Dorji said that a lot of work, including the master plan, had to be redone.

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay said the road maintenance, construction of bridges and bypass road in Passakha industrial alone consumed around Nu 360 million.

The government of India has been be assisting the industrial estate with a fund of Nu 1 billion.

Tshering Dorji