Facelift: In an effort to provide a healthier environment for those living in the Olakha automobile workshop area, the government will invest at least Nu 12M to improve the area.

A recreational park and an early childhood care and development (ECCD) centre will be opened. New footpaths will be built while drainage and roads in the automobile workshop area will also be improved by next year.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, meeting with over 70 landowners and automobile workshop proprietors, on October 18 said that the government has already framed a plan to develop the area.

While infrastructure and amenities worth over Nu 65.5 million was used to develop the area, more needs to be done to make the area liveable for its residents, Lyonchoen said.

“The Olakha automobile workshop area still lacks well-planned drainage to drain sewer and waste water from car washes and paved roads in some areas,” Lyonchoen said, adding that residents have had to live amidst dust in the winters and pools of waters in the summers. The Prime Minister also said that he is aware of congestion being another major problem.

Since, the workshop area has also become a residential space and because the automobile workshops provide a livelihood for the residents, the government decided to further develop the area.  It is estimated that around 1,400 people live in the Olakha workshop premises.

“The development of this area will not only benefit you, the occupants, but the customers too,” Lyonchoen said.

The works and human settlement ministry has already planned activities worth Nu 12M to develop the area.

“The small area which has been left fenced near the Olarongchhu stream will be developed into a mini-park area,” works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden, said.

There is also a plan to build footpaths in the area. “We will build a footpath along the Olarongchhu for pedestrians,” Lyonpo Dorji Choden said, adding that drainage would also be improved by repairing existing drains and constructing new ones where needed.

Some sections of the road in the workshop area are still unpaved. Lyonchoen said that these sections will be improved with use of reinforced concrete cement instead of bitumen for better durability as earlier recommended by the workshop proprietors.

Lyonchoen also urged automobile workshop owners to provide women employees with six months of maternity leave. He said that an ECCD would be opened to help both working mothers and their children. “The government after identifying a plot on government land will construct the infrastructure for the ECCD but you will have to take care of its management,” Lyonchoen said.

The area will also be receiving a new water supply for which the thromde has already allocated funds. “We have allocated Nu 9.4M after prioritising the water supply in our plans,” Thimphu thromde executive secretary Passang Dorji said.

However, Lyonchoen requested the landowners to distribute water efficiently to their buildings. “I would request the landowners to distribute the water with minimal loss on its way,” he said.

Lyonchoen also asked the landowners and workshop proprietors to collaborate with the government in taking care of the facilities once in place. “It’s important to take care of the these facilities once its built since such a culture is lacking among our people,” Lyonchoen said.

He also reiterated that it is equally important for the landowners and the residents of the workshop area to take care of the facilities during the construction phase. “You must help us monitor the construction works when it is being constructed instead of complaining after the contractors are long gone,” Lyonchoen said.

The government is also considering connecting the workshop premises with another road from the Semthokha junction to address congestion as requested by workshop proprietors.

Currently, there is only one entry or exit point to the workshop.

The new facilities, if all goes as planned, will be in place by next year. “If you agree with the plan then the constructions should begin in any of the winter months so that the works are completed before the onset of monsoon next year,” Lyonchoen said.

Tempa Wangdi