Settlement: “Hurry-up and bring another container,” shouts Bishnu Maya Rai to her seven-year-old daughter. Water from the leaked roof has almost filled the paint container and the rain has started to stain the already discolored walls of the shack.

Bishnu Maya Rai, 37, has been living with her husband and three children in a hut beside a stream in Chubachu, Thimphu for more than seven years now. There are about 14 families living in the area in temporary sheds.

She is a maintenance worker with Thimphu thromde. The temporary shacks made of tin and plastic sheets are deteriorating and Bishnu Maya Rai had been repairing her home with plywood and cardboards.

But starting next year, municipal workers like Bishnu Maya will be living in better conditions.

The Thimphu thromde is constructing two low income housing in Changangkha for its municipal workers. The two-storied houses will have eight units each and can accommodate 16 families. Each unit will have two rooms, a kitchen and a toilet.

Thromde workers’ camp at Chubachu

Thromde workers’ camp at Chubachu

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said the thromde has about 300 municipal workers and they are currently living in temporary sheds in Changidaphu, Chubachu and Motithang among others. The families living in Chubachu will be the first to be moved to the new housing in Changangkha.

“Their living condition is no more different from slums,” the thrompon said. Living in such conditions, he said made the workers prone to illnesses as well as disasters like fire.

The low-income housing is for the welfare of the municipal workers and to improve their living conditions, the thrompon said.

The 16 units is at is estimated to cost the thromde Nu 8,000,000. The budget is from the thromde’s reserve fund.

Thrompon Kinlay Dorjee said that because of the limited budget, the thromde is executing the work and re-using the materials accrued from demolishing a school in Changbangdu.

“We are trying to cut down on cost by reusing windows, doors, CGI sheets and even bricks among others from the school,” he said. “If we give the work to contractors they will buy everything new and it would add to cost.”

If there are enough funds, there are plans to build another block in the same area. The thromde is looking for funds to build similar housing among the settlements in the capital and slowly locate all its workers from the city camps in different areas.

The construction of the two houses is expected to complete by December this year.

By Dechen Tshomo


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