Zangpozor and Khitsang landowners expecting good returns

Development:  The sleepy hamlet of Zangpozor in Khamdang, Trashiyangtse is slowly waking up to the dream of gaining from the 600MW Kholongchhu Hydroelectric Project (KHP).

When the project was planned villagers expected to benefit from it. Most thought there would be a market for their agriculture produce. But with construction of some infrastructure works already on, villagers are hoping for better.

The value of land has increased since the project came with some mulling to make good income from their land, which they otherwise use for growing maize and vegetables.

Having settled at Zangpozor nine years ago, a landowner, Dechen Tshomo said land price had shot up in the last seven years in places located near the project site.  “In 2008, a langdo of land cost around Nu 25,000,” she said. “It was Nu 120,000 a few years ago and would cost about Nu 150,000 now.”

Not many have sold their land, a wise decision, as the value would keep increasing as they become more accessible because of the infrastructure the project is bringing with it.

“With the project constructions started, developments will reach our villages and eventually land prices would become higher,” she said.

Villagers have also started leasing their land to friends. Few others have also leased their houses to KHP to be used as offices while some are also looking forward to lease their land for KHP’s upcoming housing colony at Khamdang.

Jigme Wangchuk, a contractor, constructed a house last year on a land he has leased for 10 years from his friend.

“I have an agreement with my friend that the ownership of the house would be transferred in his name after 10 years,” he said. “By the time, I should be able to make good money through KHP’s petty contracts.”

Jigme Wangchuk added that the small village of Zangpozor has been growing after the Detailed Project Report (DPR) on KHP was finalized.

“When I first came here in 2009, there were only a few households. In the last few years, new houses have come up,” he said. “People are also looking to sell land to potential buyers at better prices.”

At Khitsang, about 7km away from Zangpozor, the price of land has almost tripled in the last three years, residents said. From about Nu 160,000 in 2012, the price of a plot (about 10 decimals) stood as high as Nu 450,000 in 2014.

However, Khamdang gup, Ugyen Wangdi said the gewog administration couldn’t confirm whether land prices have in fact increased because of KHP.

“Though land prices have consistently increased over the years, we haven’t seen much land transactions happening for quite sometime at Zangpozor and other villages near the project areas,” he said. “So, we can’t comment here. In the case of Khitsang, land prices went up because of the new town plan.”

Tshering Wangdi, Trashiyangtse