… more plot owners constructing houses

Neten Dorji | Trashigang

Nganglam town in Pemagatshel is slowly taking shape. Construction of 39 buildings is underway while 14 have been completed.

The people of Nganglam town received at least 114 plots as kidu from His Majesty The King in 2017.

Residents said that for many years, they lived in temporary sheds and operated their businesses from there.

“Our lives changed after His Majesty granted land as kidu in 2017,” said a resident, Nima Dhendup. “Now most of us are living a comfortable life.”

He said that most of the plot owners have started construction works and many more are going to begin soon.

Another resident, Kinley Wangchuk said that he is grateful to the drungkhag for approval of the construction of a three-storey building in Nganglam town.

“Currently, we are allowed to construct only two-storey buildings. If they could permit us to build a three-storey building, at least we would get some rent.”

A shopkeeper, Tenzin Wangmo, said that they were worried when officials asked them to relocate because they had constructed a house illegally on State land.

“If not for the kidu, we would not have a proper place to stay. We now have a house and a small business today. We are grateful to His Majesty The King,” said Tenzin.

She said about 20 percent of kidu recipients started constructing houses in Nganglam town.

Many residents said that construction activities were severely hampered by a lack of raw materials, as they had to import everything.

“We have been facing problems getting sand,” a resident said. “Sometimes we have to import from India.”

High cost of raw materials and budget constraints are other reasons for slow construction.

Some plot owners said they could not start construction due to budget constraints, as they have to construct the ground floor to avail loans from financial institutions.

“Laying the foundation is expensive. We need around Nu four million to start the construction and then become eligible for a loan,” said a resident who started construction.

Residents said that financial institutions can make easier ways to get loans for those who are constructing houses. “Many would have completed construction of houses if not for the pandemic and other problems, that slowed work.”

Nganglam Drungkhag officials said that they had approved house construction for 63 kidu plot owners and six private owners in the town.

“It is not that we are stopping them from constructing more than two-storey buildings,” said an official. ”We approved the standard of buildings as per coverage of house and floor area ratio.”