The lack of housing in the town has kept potential jobseekers in villages 

Labour: To help jobseekers take up internship programmes, a hostel has been planned in Samdrupjongkhar  near the National Housing Development Corporation colony, which when built would be the first such hostel in the country.

Regional labour officials said the hostel that would be constructed on about 40 decimals of land would accommodate about 60 jobseekers. The construction begins this month and would be built by students of Sershong Technical Training Institute in Gelephu as part of their on-the-job training.

Director of Regional Labour and Human Resources office, Sonam Bumtap said the hostel would help jobseekers in the eastern dzongkhags to take up internship programmes in Samdrupjongkhar. Accommodation would be provided to those who don’t have dependents and can’t afford the high house rents in the town.

Labour ministry’s internship programme varies from three to six months and interns are paid Nu 3,750 a month. “Given the housing shortage and high house rents, many jobseekers return to their villages as the stipend is not sufficient to meet daily expenses,” Sonam Bumtap said.

Labour officials said interns occupying the hostel would just pay for water and electricity. “Once the internship completes, they will have to vacate so that the next intern can move in,” the regional director said.

This year, about 159 jobseekers have registered with the regional labour office of which 64 are attending three internship programmes such as the university graduate, apprenticeship training and pre-employment engagement programme. In 2014, the office registered 218 jobseekers against 110 the previous year. The registered jobseekers are mostly class 10 and 12-drop outs.

Labour officials said although they receive about five new job applications a day, most don’t opt for internship programmes for lack of support and dependents in Samdrupjongkhar. Most jobseekers, according to officials, are from far-flung gewogs in Samdrupjongkhar and Pemagatshel.

Jobseekers who are currently interning in Samdrupjongkhar said a hostel to accommodate interns is a good initiative.

An intern Namgay, 24, said with such facility, interns would no longer depend on their parents. “As I don’t have anyone in Samdrupjongkhar, I’ve rented a house for which I pay Nu 3,000 a month,” he said.  “This would encourage more jobseekers to take up internship programmes which is crucial for jobseekers.”

Funded through the Economic Stimulus Plan with Nu 6.4 million, the construction is expected to complete by this yearend.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar