Nim Dorji | Trongsa

With the College of Language and Culture Studies (CLCS) mandating day scholars to stay in hostels, house owners in Taktse, Trongsa, are worried they do not have tenants.

Residents claim they took loans to construct houses so that they could rent them out.

A resident, Kinley Dorji, said most people constructed houses availing loans from financial institutions, but now most houses are empty, as students have moved into the campus.

“There were about 30 students staying in my house but with all the rooms empty, I’m worried how to repay the loan,” he said. “The banks might seize my house if I can’t pay the loan.”

He said staff quarters are also constructed on campus and some staff built their own houses.

A house owner, Norbu Dema, said that it would help them if the college management allowed students to stay as day scholars like before.

Another house owner, Lhadon, owns a building and a one-storied house, which was occupied by lecturers and students.

She said lecturers stay in the building as of now but the one-storied house is empty as students moved to campus.

The college management clarified students were asked to stay in the hostels as a preventive measure during the pandemic.

President Lungten Gyatso said it would be difficult for the college management to monitor students living outside the campus during the pandemic. “Once the situation normalises, students will be let to stay as day scholars, as all students can’t be accommodated in hostels.”

He said there were about 1,000 students and only about 700 students could be accommodated in hostels.

The president also said first and second-year students would not be allowed to stay as day scholars, as students should take part in prayers and tshokhors. “Students will be given the option to stay as boarder or day scholar in the final year only, as they’d have learnt those things.”

He said those, who genuinely need a separate diet on health grounds, will be allowed to stay as self-catering. “Every year, there’ll be about 300 students in the final year who’ll be allowed to stay as day scholar.”

Lungten Gyatso also said the new staff quarter can accommodate only 12 lecturers. “The staff, who are residing inside the campus, are a few lecturers, cooks and supporting staff, who have to provide the service anytime.”

There are about 104 staff and around 30 will be staying within campus while the rest will stay in rented apartments.

Meanwhile, some people were happy the college was keeping all the students in hostels. “It’ll be safer for the girls,” a former student said.