Choki Wangmo | Sarpang

After years of slowdown due to Covid-19, development works at the Jigmeling industrial estate in Sarpang is finally picking up.

While the infrastructure development projects such as road and electricity connection within the estate are complete, the water supply works is expected to be completed by this year-end.

Spanning over 733 acres, the construction of the country’s biggest industrial park started in 2009.

According to an official with the estate, 82 promoters have leased land for their industrial ventures. A total of 13 industries are under construction.

The records show the highest ventures in agro and food-based industries (22), followed by mineral and chemical-based industries (21). Others include forest and wood-based, construction materials, household goods, logistics, packaging materials, spices, cheese, and textiles and garments.

Except for Bhutan Tiles, other companies are in the various stage of development such as submitting designs and drawings for construction and processing loans.

“Within the next two years, 50 percent of construction is expected to be completed,” the official said.

These ventures are guided by the 2018 industrial development guidelines.

The official said that the past few years was challenging due to the pandemic. “Labour shortage was acute. With relaxations, the works are gradually showing progress.”

She said that while some industries could start within a few months of leasing land, others took years to start construction works due to various factors such as delays in loan processing. They have a lease agreement for 20 years.

The guideline mandates that industries start construction after three months of obtaining the lease.

However, there are some who rush to obtain the lease without a plan. “Such issues are causing the delay,” the official added.

Recently, Jigmeling residents alleged that the wastewater from the estate caused flood risks in the settlements located below the park area. The issue was discussed in the Sarpang Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) in August.

The estate official said that without clearance from the Department of Roads and public clearance from the residents, there were no other ways to dump the wastewater. “There is damage to the estate’s boundary walls too. We are awaiting decision from the DT,” the official added.

The estate is also facing erratic power supply. The erratic supply is reportedly damaging electronic equipment in the office. Electricity to the estate is supplied from the Jigmeling substation.