Last year, Thimphu Thromde approved the proposals to construct 170 buildings in the city alone. With about 2,500 contractors and about 11, 403 heavy vehicles in the country, the construction sector is today one of the biggest and busiest industries.

To meet the demand of a growing construction sector and provide quality materials that are cost effective, the third construction fair opened at the Changlingmithang stadium car park, in Thimphu yesterday. Minister for economic affairs, Loknath Sharma inaugurated the fair.

The Construction Association of Bhutan (CAB) and Construction Development Board (CDB) organised the fair, touted to be the largest to date. It is themed “Smart, Innovative and intelligent engineering in construction” and ends on May 13, which will be attended by the Prime Minister.

A total of 65 stalls are exhibiting construction materials from India and Bhutan brands, ranging from flooring tiles to heavy vehicle and machinery like excavators and crushers.

The fair has brought together producers, manufacturers and suppliers, which is an increase from 50 stalls in 2018.

Programme coordinator of CAB, Namgay Tshering said that, keeping the safety issue in mind, the tents are bigger and pitched deeper into the ground.

General Secretary of CAB, Wangdi Gyeltshen, said that construction fairs are vital for the construction district to introduce quality materials that are cost effective. “It also helps to showcase local dealers in the construction industry,” he said.

With many construction activities taking place in the country every year, fairs help contractors decide on quality and provide them a price advantage given the many options to choose from.

Owner of Druk-Propel, a company that deals with crushers said that, fairs help him sell his machinery better. “If not for the construction fair, I would have to go around and market my products separately,” he said.

Bhutanese exhibitors have to pay Nu 45,000 a stall for four nights while non-Bhutanese are charged Nu 55,000 per stall.

However, the line of distinction between the Bhutanese and Indian exhibitors is blurred, with Bhutanese selling and pitching Indian brands. This according to a contractor is because, when it comes to construction materials, Bhutan imports almost everything from India. “There is no competition because we have a co-dependent relationship with the Indian construction industry,” he said.

Esori Waglay