Chimi Dema | Tsirang

Seven years ago, Mendrelgang town in Tsirang was identified as a satellite town. It was expected to bring new opportunities to the small town which was already bustling with life.

Today, there are no development activities initiated in the town. Located about 18KM away to the south east of Damphu, the town without any development has almost become a dead town.

Road connection to all the gewogs meant people took their good to either Damphu town or Thimphu.

According to the few businessmen in the town, road connectivity to every gewogs enabled local residents to operate businesses from their own gewog affecting business in the town today.

There are around seven businesses operating from temporary sheds in an area stretching about three acres.

A businessperson, Dorji Letho, 50, said that he used to earn about Nu 15,000 a day in the past. “But today, it is difficult to earn even Nu 1,000 in a day,” he said.

He said that some products cross expiry dates before he could sell, thus adding losses. Initially owned by his father for about 18 years, this is his 12th year into the business.

Another shopkeeper, Pema Jamtsho, said he could hardly earn Nu 500 in a day. For an elderly shop owner, Sangay Thinley, the business was far better in the past.

While some shop owners remain hopeful for benefits from establishing satellite town, a few were in view that no differences would be created.

Dzongkhag municipal official said the town could not be developed due to deferment of dzongkhag thromde elections in 2016 in accordance to writ mandamus issued by the Supreme Court (SC). “We couldn’t prioritise   yenlag thromde as we have been focusing on developing the dzongkhag thromde.”

Municipal Principal Engineer, Tshewang Tenzin however, said that provision of basic amenities including water supply, market shed, road maintenance and waste collecting facility to the area were included in the current plan. “But given the budget constraint, we could not provide any of these during first two years of the plan period.”

“We remain hopeful that we would be able to provide basic facilities in the remaining Plan period,” he said.