Nima | Gelephu

Almost four years into operation, all the plots of the Industrial Service Centre (ISC) in Trashiling, Gelephu has filled where enterprises set up their businesses to provide important services to the growing town of Sarpang.

ISC has 108 plots allotted to different investors and interested individuals to set up workshops, warehouses, car wash, and manufacturing units in over 100 acres of land within the thromde.

ISC has become an important part of Gelephu thromde, employing over 200 skilled and unskilled employees, according to the record with Gelephu Thromde.

However, residents following the development at ISC say that the service centre is becoming more residential and commercial with several apartments and commercial setups sprouting at the centre.

A resident from Gelephu, Sithar Dorji, said that the development and execution of plans at ISC lacked monitoring. “There are bigger buildings than godowns and workshops. Not sure how the thromde approved the drawings.”

He added that the purpose of the industrial service centre is defeated when the plot owners focused on building apartments and commercial operations at the ISC.

“If the trend continues, it would be difficult for other residential buildings in the town to sustain. These lapses should be attended to properly. A canteen would be reasonable but setting up restaurants and bars at the centre needs proper monitoring,” said Sithar Dorji.

ISC workshop association’s executive member, Chencho Wangchuk, said that the thromde had allowed the plot owners to build apartments for manager or the owner, rooms for workers, a tool room, and a canteen.

“There is no risk of the centre becoming residential because we don’t keep people from outside the centre. Only those staff working at ISC is allowed to stay at ISC. We couldn’t pay the workers much. It would be difficult for them to sustain if they are to stay in a rented apartment,” he said.

He added that the thromde did not allow constructing even a two-storied building in the ISC area considering the impact it would have on other residential buildings in the thromde.

“On the contrary, there are some plot owners who couldn’t get proper access to sewerage lines and other basic facilities. The road within the ISC is poor. We reported to thromde but we are asked to complete the construction,’ said Chencho Wangchuk.

Gelephu Thrompon, Tshering Norbu, said that there were bigger residential structures than the business set up currently. “We are keeping track of it. If we don’t allow plot owners to build residents, there would be more issues. We have to see earnings of the worker there.”

He added that the plot owners building residence for themselves and workers shouldn’t be a problem. “They would grow gradually and enhance business capacity in the later stage. Now they lack financial capacity.”

The thromde has allowed construction of an apartment for the owner or manager, rooms for staff and a canteen on the designated plots.

ISC representative, Kamal Pradhan, said that the plot owners were entitled to build a house for caretakers. “What has happened now is that the people stay in ISC, a good house for the caretaker is built. This is done for the future chances of expansion. This is just a remedial measure.”

There are over 95 plots allotted for eight different activities at ISC today; thromde has reserved 13 plots for its future use and plans.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk