Over the past three years, Phuentsholing town has been getting a makeover.

With the second phase of the four landscaping projects in the town completed, the country’s commercial hub wears a new look today. These projects comprisec beautification work from the main gate until the RBA arc along the Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway.

Tashi Group invested Nu 20 million (M) on the first phase of landscaping in 2015 to commemorate the 60th Birth Anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Thromde is continuing the remaining three phases.

Thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said that Phuentsholing is an important town and it should look like one. “There are lots of challenges but we cannot just let it pass,” he said.

The thromde has invested Nu 7M for the second phase that saw the construction of pedestrian walkways along the highway.

Unlike in the past, thromde went local in landscaping the second phase sites. Local plants that were never tried in towns have been planted. Four species of palm trees are planted.

Pandanus, fishtail palm, foxtail palm, and silver palm have been planted on the terrains along the road.

“Why palm? Because it looks beautiful and the plants survive easily,” thrompon Uttar Kumar Rai said. “These are ornamental plants.”

Uttar Kumar Rai also said that the thromde got the palm plants from nearby forests. Thromde would promote local species of decorative plants that many people do not know, he added.

The embellished new look of Zangdopelri Lhakhang is another major upgrade in the town. With a fresh coat of paint and the makeover of the park area around it, the lhakhang is a visual treat for both locals and people from across the border.

The budget to give the lhakhang a facelift was contributed by the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) II project. NAPA II is a project that is currently working on landslide mitigation in Phuentsholing. It is funded by the Global Environment Facilities and coordinated by the UNDP.

The remaining two phases of the landscaping project has been tendered out. Evaluation works are underway, thromde officials said.

A corporate employee, Pradeep Gajmeer, who got transferred in Phuentsholing, recently said the town has improved a lot.

“I grew up in this town and this change is new,” he said. “Since our town shares border with Jaigaon, it is our responsibility to keep it clean and beautiful.”

Phuentsholing thromde has several beautification plans for the 12th Plan. Revamping the current-RICBL park is a likely project, among others but thromde’s executive secretary Wangchuk Thaye said that it would take time. “We have to go phase-wise and slowly,” he said, adding important projects would eventually materialise.

Thromde is also keen in outsourcing the investment of RICBL park, which would mean that landscaping works could begin earlier, if there are investors. When the park beautification work comes through, Phuentsholing town would get its first open theatre with a capacity to accomodate about 600 people.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing