However, rent of the apartments will be hiked in the summer as per the Tenancy Act

Housing: Six families are looking forward to a happier summer, with the National Housing and Development Corporation Ltd (NHDCL) carrying out much-needed maintenance works on three apartments on the Bhutanese side of Chinese Lane in Phuentsholing.

Tenants said this is the first maintenance work they can recall. Repairs began in November 2015.

Apartments are only for class four category service holders such as drivers and peons. Each house has two apartments.

One of the tenants, Rinchen Zangmo, who settled in the NHDCL apartment over the past year, welcomes the renovations. Without a proper roof, their past summer was a terrible experience.

“We have better roof, better ceiling, and better floor,” the hospital ward attendant, Rinchen Zangmo said. “Although the ceiling and the roofs were there, it was not in good condition to shield heavy rainfall.”

Rinchen Zangmo is currently waiting for the inner walls to get painted. Window casings is also planned.

Another tenant Tshering Wangdi, 60, also remembers the difficulty he faced last summer.

“The CGI sheets of the roof were old,” he said, explaining he had to use tarpaulin sheets to protect his home.

Tshering Wangdi said everything has changed with the maintenance project. With the summer approaching, he said the maintenance work is timely.

The apartments will also get proper drainage and electric wiring will be replaced.

NHDCL’s liaison officer in Phuentsholing, Tendup Lepcha said the houses were “dilapidated” when they took it over from the city in 2012. “Maybe it was because of the budget problems,” he said. “And maintenance was necessary.”

With the condition of the apartments made habitable, Tendup Lepcha said tenants are happier these days. A tenant pays Nu 1,547 a month but this will be increased in July this year as per the Tenancy Act.

To ease the housing problem in Phuentsholing, NHDCL is also constructing five new buildings. These buildings will create occupancy for 32 families.

NHDCL is currently evaluating the tender documents for these structures and construction may start early next month. An investment of about Nu 70M is estimated.

The housing development will have installed 56 units in Phuentsholing since 2014. Three buildings completed in 2014 house 24 government employees.

 Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing