Yangyel Lhaden 

Thimphu Thromde is constructing 15 semi-permanent houses in Langjophakha to relocate its workers living in makeshift huts above Dechen Zam along Langjophakha-Lungtenzampa highway.

Heavy monsoon rains caused frequent landslides mainly in the area above the highway. The settlement above the highway is at risk of sliding down to the road if any more landslides occur.

Thromde’s Labour Officer Sonam Tshewang said that there were 18 households out of which three did not work with thromde.

He said following the first landslide at the location three households located near the edge of the slope at higher risk were temporarily relocated to makeshift huts in Babesa. “The structures were dismantled.”

The first landslide near the makeshift hut occurred on July 21 and the second one on August 2.

Sonam Tshewang said that plan to relocate the rest of thromde workers to Jungshina began right after the first landslide. “The groundwork for the construction of the houses is completed. We have hired labourers on contract to build the structures.”


Three houses at higher risk on the slope were dismantled

The construction of semi-permanent houses is expected to complete within two months. Sonam Tshewang said thromde is asking labourers to complete building the houses within a month.

He said the risk of landslides was lower in those remaining 12 households but for the safety of individuals, they were being relocated.

Sonam Tshewang said permanent houses were not built for them because thromde planned to build affordable housing for low-income groups working in thromde.

He said it was difficult to say when the construction of housing for low-income groups would happen due to the pandemic and difficulty in importing materials and workers. “ In Babesa and Motithang 20 units and 12 units house respectively for low-income groups is in the plan. We are also identifying a plot in Pamtsho to construct low-income housing.”

He added that thromde had constructed low-income housing for daily wage workers with thromde in three locations- Motithang, Dangrina, and Changangkha to date.

“In the long run, thromde is aiming to provide affordable housing to every low-income group working with the thromde office,” he said.

There are more than 350 daily wage workers with the thromde office who live in makeshift huts in 14 locations within the thromde from Dangrina up to Serbithang and Royal Thimphu College areas.