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The highest loan that the banks disburse every year is to construction and building industry. Yet housing shortage continues, particularly in places like Thimphu.

Going by the population in the capital city, housing shortage shouldn’t be a problem. Yet it is. Why?

House owners have become bullies. They disregard the laws, rules and regulations, as they like. They can evict tenants as and when they want and increase the rent randomly without slightest consultation.

It’s a pity that the very organisations that hold the mandate of taking care of such issues are comfortably dormant. So why the laws, rules and regulations?

This weaknesses from the quarters with power has given easy freeway to the builders and homeowners. That’s why rents escalate even though the demand is relatively low.

The very people who face the brunt are those who, by way of social classification might be called, the middle-incomers. When middle-income people are pressed so in the economy, there is a problem.

Recently, Samdrupjongkhar Thromde had an issue concerning a house owner who evicted a tenant unlawfully and violated the Tenancy Act of Bhutan 2015. The committee imposed a fine of Nu 8,250 last Friday on a house owner after one of the tenants lodged a complaint with the committee for unlawful eviction as per the Act. The fine, as per the Act, is equivalent to one month’s rental charges.

Such bold steps should be taken by authorities in town and cities where a large number of people are harassed by house owners who are only worried about repaying their loans. That way, they hike the rent so exorbitantly that living becomes impossible to most. At the same time, we must look at salary rise of civil servants that hurts those who are in the private sector.

If laws are there, they must be implemented. It is difficult to explain how there is housing shortage when construction industry is enjoying the greatest boom in the history of the nation.

Somewhere the things are going wrong. We need to find that out so that we may be able to work out a plan that will show us the way to achieve equality of some sort.

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