… The ADB approves funding for the project to build Changjiji-style housing

Thukten Zangpo 

The National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) will build 1,000 rental housing units in Nganglam, Phuentsholing, Samdrup Jongkhar, Samtse, Thimphu, and Trashiyangtse.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will support the construction with a USD 24 million (M) equivalent to Nu 1.8 billion (B) loan and a USD 6M (Nu 0.45B) grant to support Bhutan’s plans to improve access to adequate and affordable rental housing, according to a press release from the ADB yesterday.

The rental units are for low- and middle-income government and private sector employees, including municipal waste workers.

Affordable housing is becoming scarce owing to the growing urban population in the country driven by people moving from rural areas to seek better livelihoods, the ADB press release stated.

Minister of Works and Human Settlement Dorji Tshering said that the ministry has asked the NHDCL to submit a project proposal and to start the project soon.

Lyonpo said that the housing units will be similar to the housing colony at Changjiji in Thimphu. 

“It will boost the economy and will be a solution to the housing shortage, since the majority of our economy is supported by construction activities,” he said.

The ADB’s Project Administration Unit Head for South Asia, Jude Kohlhase, said that the ADB supports the government’s vision for providing safe, affordable, and adequate housing to its citizens.

“This project will improve the lives of low-income households who will have access to green and resilient housing units and associated services, contributing to sustained economic growth and people’s overall well-being,” he added.

The housing units will incorporate gender-inclusive, as well as climate and disaster resilience features, and reflect the local cultural heritage and traditional architecture, ADB’s press release stated.

The project is also expected to strengthen the country’s National Housing Policy 2020 and build the NHDCL’s institutional capacity.

It includes reviewing housing policies and regulatory frameworks, developing climate- and disaster-resilient building designs, establishing a national homeownership strategy, and conducting awareness-raising and training activities. The project will also build three community service centres and two waste recycling stations.

An additional USD 1M (Nu 75M) will also be provided by the ADB as a grant for technical assistance to support the NHDCL in monitoring the uptake of housing units by target low-income groups.

The technical assistance will also promote the use of innovative construction technologies and practises and develop a housing management information system for the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement.