Housing: The National Housing Development Corporation Ltd (NHDCL) alloted 24 apartment units to civil servants in Lhuentse on August 29.

Housewife Sangay, 30, said that for the last three years her family stayed in makeshift huts with no proper toilets, no running water supply, and no kitchen. She added that the risk of fire, given that the huts were attached to each other was also very high.

A civil servant, who wished not be named, said that while no rent had to be paid for living in the huts, it was not a pleasant experience.

The NHDCL buildings have been built near Lhuentse Dzong at a cost of Nu 43.7 million. There are six buildings with four units each. Each apartment has two bedrooms, two toilets, one kitchen, and one sitting room.

NHDCL general manager, Karchung, said the company has incorporated a green building concept in the designs of the buildings, and constructed environmental friendly and resource efficient infrastructures. The buildings were built with Bhutanese architectural features to uphold, preserve and promote vernacular architecture in the dzongkhag.

Karchung also pointed out that the project was aimed at providing affordable housing units in addition to 30 existing units to civil servants working in the dzongkhag.

Lhuentse Dzongdag Jambay Wangchuk said that the 24 units will ease the acute shortage of affordable housing in the dzongkhag. The civil servants, who are between grade seven to 14, were allotted the units through lucky dip.

Despite the allocations, between 30-40 percent of civil servants in the dzongkhag still face a housing shortage. The dzongdag said a building under construction at Phaling town is expected to further ease the housing problem.

Many civil servants who are posted to Lhuentse stay in makeshift huts with some even sharing a single hut. The huts built of planks and tin sheets, has made up the dzongkhag’s urban centre for decades.

The housing problem has been a major concern every year. However, with the new town planning, the shopkeepers will be able to construct buildings and houses,which should solve the problem. Residents are hopeful that the new town will mean an internal road network, proper drainage, adequate water supply and street lighting.

Development of the site started in 2007 with the help of the World Bank.

Tashi Phuntsho | Lhuentse