Tsirang has approved 18 Priority Sector Lending (PSL) projects in the last seven months.

Tsirang dzongkhag agriculture officer, Dorji Gyeltshen, who is the member secretary of the dzongkhag PSL committee, said the pace of receiving the application for PSL loan has relatively slowed down compared to the initial months.

He said the committee today receives just one or two application in a month, whereas it received at least two in a day in March and April.

Of the 18 approved projects, 10 applicants are farmers buying power tillers; three are large-scale piggery farms, two poultry farms, and one project each of a furniture unit, yoghurt production unit and a briquette-manufacturing unit.

An applicant, Nima Khandu Sherpa, 39, from Kilkhorthang gewog has set up a poultry broiler farm. He availed Nu 183,000 as PSL loan, which he used to set up two poultry sheds and buy chicken.

In the first phase in June, he bought 400 chickens and after letting them mature for more than two months, he began selling it. In September he added another 300 chicken. They are mature but have not been able to sell.

“I’m not able to sell it in Tsirang and to transport it to other dzongkhags, I need ice and it’s not available here,” he said.

Nima Khandu plans to avail additional PSL loan to buy a deep freezer (ice maker), which would help him sell his broiler chicken in other dzongkhags. “Without ice, my chickens are getting older and I’m worried of loan repayment,” he said.

He began repaying loan two months before he started selling his product. Nima pays Nu 3,815 a month.

Although the dzongkhag PSL committee received 114 applications so far, only 18 could be approved.

Most of the remaining applications were rejected.

While some applicants withdrew themselves, others were rejected for various reasons.

Dorji Gyeltshen said at least 45 project proposals were rejected.

Projects that had a long gestation period (more than two years), applicants with bad financial credit record and projects that are already a plenty in operation such as poultry (layer) farms were some of the rejected projects.

“We’ve 19 on desk and five are approved by the committee,” he said.

The member secretary said during the field verification, two of the remaining 14 applicants were found not settled well to begin the project.

Meanwhile, of the 18 approved projects, Bank of Bhutan sanctioned loans for the 15 projects and Bhutan National Bank sanctioned loans for the other three projects.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang