Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

When the Gyalpoizhing-Nganglam highway was inaugurated in May 2018, the business community in Gyalpoizhing was excited and expected their businesses to prosper.

Less than two years after the inauguration, shopkeepers are baffled with the decline in business.

But the community say there is still hope.

After years of delay as a result of a major land scam, the town could eventually become one of the most unique towns in the country, a lakeside model town.

As of now, construction of a double-lane main road, storm water drainage and a vegetable shed are complete.

While the old sewerage system is used, officials said the streetlight has been proposed and work related to water treatment plant for the drinking water from Drepong and plantation of flowers and plants (evergreen low height trees) in between the structures and road is underway.

Similarly, the construction of Namgyal choeten along with wangkhang (prayer hall) aimed at hosting religious activities especially in winter is also going on.

With the salient features of smart growth principles, dzongkhag officials said Gyalpoizhing town would serve as the business, tourism, transit, sporting and conferencing hub in eastern Bhutan.

The salient features include resort and convention center, compact building design, walkable neighbourhood, foster distinctive and attractive neighbourhood, environmental preservation and a children’s park.

All-weather-soccer stadium, guest house, conference hall and resort, boat riding, vegetable shed, a choeten with wangkhang would be some of the prominent features the town once complete.

There will also be a river rafting along the 3.6km ferry route over the 250m wide still river with six boat stations.

This, according to the dzongkhag officials, is going to be the most unique part of the town and it is expected to attract tourists.

“This is an interface of water-bred activities with human-settlement pattern to turn Gyalpoizhing into winter destination for local tourists for water-based recreational activities,” Mongar architect, Sangay Wangchuk said.

The 10.6-acre Bhutan Olympic Committee area, which already has an artificial turf will be turned into a sporting complex with in-door games and sports facilities.

In order to supplement drinking water supply, thromde officials said an additional water source has been identified at Kalapang in Saling gewog and included in the 12th Plan in the flagship programme.

However, the resort area designated at the lower part of the town including the river rafting facility and children’s park are yet to be developed.

For the service precinct,  except for relocating the BOD fuel depot to Kurizampa area, dzongkhag officials said Bondeyma industrial estate will suffice.

Gyalpoizhing town has 105 allocable plots excluding the government institutions, of which 57 plots were allotted. Among those allotted, 18 are already developed, three are being developed and two are set, according to a town committee member Tshering Wangdi.

Among the government agencies that have applied for plots of the remaining area, economic affairs ministry has applied to establish a cottage and small industry start-up center, and the Royal Monetary Authority has applied to open its regional office.

Gyalpoizhing town has an area of 400 acres with an estimated population of more than 2,400 people.