…the location identified for primary school construction 

Choki Wangmo 

Less than a year after receiving lagthrams, more than 50 plot owners in Lhamoidzingkha could not start construction at the old town yet. Since the temporary town is identified as the new primary school site, the shopkeepers have to vacate the area by June end.

According to a notification issued by the Dagana dzongkhag administration to the plot owners last month, Lhamoidzingkha drungkhag lifted the moratorium for construction activities and issued construction approvals after the distribution of the new lagthrams in May last year. “The plot holders in the temporary town should vacate the plots latest by June 30 this year.”

“The dzongkhag had received the approval for upgradation of Lhamoidzingkha middle secondary school to higher secondary school on December 28, 2022,” it stated.

It is because the plot where the temporary town is located is identified and approved for a primary school and the infrastructure development will be carried out in the beginning of the next Plan.

The news upset most of the 28 plot owners who had settled in the temporary town in the past eight months. Some moved in recently. In a meeting yesterday with the dzongkhag officials, they requested a time extension to vacate the area by next February.

“We are not against development but the news was sudden,” said a shopkeeper at the town, Jigme Ghishing. She moved into the temporary town two months ago after spending Nu 500,000 to build a shed.

Plot owners said that they won’t be able to start construction at the old town even after two years. They cannot work during monsoons.

They spent huge amounts building sheds in the temporary town. According to shopkeepers, they had to build concrete flooring to reduce seepage during heavy monsoons.

“The dzongkhag is helping us educate our children within the dzongkhag but we need more time. I hope the dzongkhag administration understands our challenges,” said a grocery shop owner, Dilip Mukhai.

Currently, there are no high schools in the drungkhag. The school, once complete, would benefit the students in the three gewogs of Lhamoidzingkha, Karmaling, and Nichula.

He said that people needed more time to recover from the Covid-19 impacts. The situation is made dire by the pandemic. “We need time to get loans and skilled labourers.”

With Kulkuli border opening, he said that the business in Lhamoidzingkha town was down by 60 percent. “Every Sunday, about 400 vehicles travel to the Indian town.”

He said that the officials seem worried that plot owners would refuse to move out of the temporary town in the future which is not the case. “We won’t abandon His Majesty’s gift to us. Most of the plots are shared among three households and not everyone is financially able to start construction in the old town.”

There are 51 kidu plots.

Another plot owner, Dawa Lhamo Sherpa, said that the start of her construction works would depend on the readiness of her neighbors, as they have to build conjoined buildings due to the small plots allocated.

Each plot owner has 500 sq feet of space.

“Development is important and I will have to move to another place to run my business,” said CB Gurung.

The dzongkhag engineer Jamyang Dorji said that the administration understood peoples’ situation but nothing was officially confirmed yet. “The time of vacating the temporary town would depend on the time period of school construction.”

He said that plot owners wanted the dzongkhag to provide them with drainage and other facilities in the old town but infrastructure development would begin once the plot owners start construction.