Dechen Dolkar

Residents of the Chanjiji housing colony can reside in the flat until they retire from the civil service.

Last Friday, during the Meet the Press session, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said that the Cabinet had approved the National Housing Development Corporation Limited (NHDCL) Board’s decision to allow residents of the Chanjiji colony to occupy their homes until they resign from civil services.

Following executive orders issued by the Ministry of Finance regarding the revision of the tenancy agreement for residents of Changjiji colony, the Board of the NHDCL agreed to revise the tenancy act, permitting residents to occupy their homes until they resign.

The Board forwarded this decision to the Cabinet for final approval.

However, residents must fulfill certain conditions and criteria to qualify for occupancy in the affordable colony.

Prime Minister said that the tenants should be employed in Thimphu, belong to a low-income group, and should not own property in Thimphu to be eligible for residency.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of NHDCL, Rinchen Wangdi, said that the Board had proposed two conditions for allowing the residents to occupy until their retirement.

He said that if an occupant’s wife or husband owns buildings under Thimphu Thromde or their gross income exceeds the low-income threshold, they would not be eligible to occupy the unit.

“NHDCL will assess the income of the couple. They will be required to self-declared and NHDCL will verify it,” Rinchen Wangdi said.

NHDCL is currently working on determining the gross low-income threshold to be set.

Rinchen Wangdi said that these criteria were in place to ensure that the housing units are allocated to low-income and deserving individuals.

Rinchen Wangdi also said that NHDCL would implement various mechanisms to ensure that income declarations are honest.

He said that all the tenants, regardless of their location,will have a valid occupancy for two years and they will be renewed. Before renewing their tenancy agreement every two years, their income and property will be validated.

“If they don’t qualify the conditions, they will have to vacate the unit.”

Last year, NHDCL announced that tenants could occupy the units for a maximum of ten years.

However, Rinchen Wangdi clarified that this rule is no longer applicable, and residents can now occupy until they retire if they meet the specified conditions.

The Chanjiji Colony comprises around 700 units, each with two bedrooms, one toilet, a kitchen, a sitting room, and a veranda.

Tenants currently pay around Nu 7,000 per month.

The government pledged to revise the tenancy agreement to allow tenants to occupy the houses until their retirement or transfer.

NHDCL also announced last year that it would also allow corporate and private employees to reside in their colony.

Rinchen Wangdi said that in the next one to two months, applications for residency in the NHDCL colony would also be open to corporate and private sector employees.