With the moratorium on house construction in Trashigang town lifted, residents are hopeful that the housing shortage in the locality would now be addressed.
However, the dzongkhag municipal office is yet to receive a formal letter from the ministry of works and human settlement, sanctioning the lift.
Following the approval of the town’s structural plan, the yearlong moratorium, in principle, was lifted last month.
Municipal officials said the confirmation letter is expected this month.
Meanwhile, the office has allowed a landowner of the extended town area in Pam village to begin his construction.
“The approval was given looking at the genuineness and urgency of the construction work,” said an official. “There are people who do not have a decent place to live in which is why the municipal office after studying all the necessary information, decided to approve the works.”
Once lifted, construction works suspended in Trashigang town, Kanglung and Khaling would resume, according to officials.
While the municipal office has not received any construction proposals in the core town area, three sets of construction works would begin in the extended town of Melphey, once the confirmation letter is received.
One of the contractors, Ugyen Wangchuk, said lifting the suspension would help address the growing housing shortage in the area. “Each year the number of population in Trashigang town grows which makes it difficult for people to get houses,” he said. “Once we are allowed to construct houses, this problem should be solved.”
Tshering Zangmo, a private employee said that after failing to get a house in the town area, she had to rent a place in Pam. “For people like us who do not own a vehicle, it is difficult to travel some 5km towards the town daily,” she said.
Another corporate employee who did not wish to be named said that with the increasing fuel price, it was taxing to drive 15km everyday from work to his place in Rongthong. “I’ve already spoken to the house owner in Melphey and booked a unit at his upcoming building.”
Construction works in the dzongkhag was suspended to allow survey of the town’s existing structures and to plan for new infrastructures and other activities. The structural plan of a town is reviewed after 10 years.
Along with buildings, the new structural plan in Trashigang has proposals for a new eco-line (sewer pipeline) system that will connect safety tanks in Melphey and above hospital areas to the sewerage treatment plant near the archery range below the town.
It was learnt that the existing sewerage treatment plant was build some 16 years ago for about 700 residents. Today, Trashigang town has more than 2,500 residents.
Municipal officials said the plan is to improve the existing plant, extend the capacity and connect the sewerage lines from Melphey and above hospital areas.
The new plan also has road extension and widening activities listed along with footpath connectivity within the town area and its extended areas in Melphey. Streetlights along the footpath would also be installed across the town for better visibility.
The office has already started works to replace the old drinking water distribution network with support from the Asian Development Bank.
Younten Tshedup | Trashigang