… to meet demand for housing, a problem that has persisted for decades

MTR: Civil servants in Pemagatshel are concerned that they may not have adequate housing once Denchi dzong is completed in June 2018.

This is because there are not enough houses available for rent at Denchi. Once the dzong is completed the dzongkhag administration will shift from the present dzong located 18km away.

The present town is also grappling with an acute housing crunch. The problem has persisted for decades both for civil servants, and corporate and private employees.

Today, some civil servants travel from as far away as Nangkor, about 11km from the town and some live in makeshift huts rented out by the local residents.

The concerns were raised during the midterm review held on March 15.

Dzongdag Phuntsho, during his presentation, said that the housing crunch will get worse once the shift occurs.

“As per the plan’s structure and design only two-storeyed houses would be allowed for the construction and this would again result in housing crunch,” he said. “So, we would like to request if the government could direct or allow the National Housing Development Corporation to buy land and establish a housing colony at Denchi.”

However, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay asked the dzongkhag not to take this matter as an issue and instead, shopkeepers should take this as an opportunity to generate income by constructing buildings.

Lyonchoen advised the shopkeepers that they can rent out the buildings to the civil servants from which they can earn.

“Since this is an opportunity for the people, so government will not construct the buildings. If shopkeepers do not have resources, government will render the housing loans, yet if they’re not at all interested then government will take up the matter and discuss.”

Lyonchoen also added that since Denchi thromde has already been finalised, the dzongkhag administration should make sure the plots are  distributed to the shopkeepers at the earliest.

“If there are private lands, individuals can start constructing the buildings,” Lyonchoen said, adding once the plot has been allocated, shopkeepers can start the construction soon.

On the number of storeys allowed, Lyonchoen said since the business community had already agreed to construct only two storeyed building before, the government cannot reverse the decision.

“Still I will discuss with the dzongdag, gups and relevant ministries soon to explore the possibilities if there is a need to increase the number of storeys or not,” Lyonchoen said. “But it’s quite worrying because the ground floor would be used as a shop and first floor as residential, then how would public avail for rent.”

But Lyonchoen further added it is also equally worrying if the building is more than two storeys because it would completely block the view of the dzong.

“That’s why discuss about it and send the resolution to the government.”

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Pemagatshel