Tshering Namgyal | Mongar
Mongar town residents say there stones suitable for use in construction cannot be found in the town area and its periphery.
A resident at Ridaza, just outside the town, stopped the construction of his two-storey semi-concrete house because of stone scarcity. He has gathered enough timber.
Thromde thuemi Namgay Dorji said that there is a significant number of plot owners in the town in need of stones and aggregates to begin their construction. Some have already sought approval for construction.
He said that aggregates were necessary for concrete buildings, along with bricks and cement, but a huge quantity of stones is required for walls and site development.
Dzongkhag architect Sangay Wangchuk said that each development site needs between 45 and 50 truckloads of stones.
He said that site development, including walls and other infrastructure developments, had been done on the geologically unstable plots a few years before the construction to strengthen and stabilise the area.
He said the dzongkhag has issued approvals to 15 plot owners for site development, a total of 18 for house construction (10 in Mongar town, five in Gyalpoizhing and three in Lingmethang town) for this year, besides those approved by the gewogs.
Similarly, construction is about to begin on a number of plots outside the town like Ridaza, Pekchurung and Hurungpam.
The issue was deliberated in the recent dzongkhag tshogdu (DT) last month. The DT asked the divisional forest office and the regional Natural Resources Development Corporation (NRDCL) to address the issue.
NRDCL’s regional manager (RM) Tandin Wangchuk said that the demand for stone has escalated recently with increased development activities in Mongar.
However, he said that the issue was not about unavailability, but people’s preference from sources close to their sites.
He said NRDCL identified two sites: one at Tsangkhar in Drepong gewog and another one at Mangling in Saling gewog. They were, however, abandoned owing to lack of demand.
Tandin Wangchuk said that the public denied clearance for surface collection at Konbar, which is about seven kilometres from Mongar town, claiming that the extraction work would affect their water source, which is more than a kilometre away from the site.
Tandin Wangchuk said getting clearance from stakeholders like the public, forestry, and environmental organisations, is difficult. “Thus, it hampers public service.”
However, the RM said the NRDCL corporate office is readying to put the sites at Tsangkhar and Mangling into operation, while exploring additional sites along the logging route at Korila and pursuing clearance for the sites at Konbar, in order to cater to the local demand.
Edited by Tshering Palden